Subsidizing North Korea

ArtAsiaPacific has a feature essay on North Korea’s Mansudae Art Studio, which operates under the ‘special guidance’ of the country’s leader, Kim Jong-Il, and produces propaganda art–paintings, public sculptures–for the North Korean state. The studio also has international clients and a ready market in China, South Korea and Japan. But the most startling growth for the studio has been in Africa on projects like the one above: “The African Renaissance Monument,” a 164-feet tall bronze statue in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, to mark the 50th anniversary of Senegal’s independence from French colonial rule.

Angie Baeckner writes that the statue is “… taller than both the Statue of Liberty and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro” and cost about $28 million–money Senegalese say the state does not have. Locals complain the work resemble the “… standard busts and statues of some European generals” and “Socialist Realism, a style that has nothing to do with any indigenous African culture.”

The North Koreans have also built and designed statues in Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Algeria, Benin, Chad, the DRC, Egypt, Togo and Zimbabwe.

H/T: Public Archive.



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

  1. This is exactly what Franz Fanon was refering to, "the colonised mind". In a country with vibrant art and great artists, Wade colonised mind obviously did not think Senegalese sculturers are good enough to produce a monument to mark their country's 50th independence anniversary! So let's bring in the superior North Koreans and paid them $28 millions–that could have gone to providing much need education for Dakar's street kids so that they could grow up to be independent and productive citizens–to build a moment to mark our 50th independence anniversary!!! The irony is just sickening!!!

    1. Also, let's not forget that Wade is claiming intellectual property rights for coming up with the concept for the statue and that he is therefore entitled to 35% of the revenue generated in connection with the monument.

      I guess that's one way of ensuring a comfortable retirement.

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