Project Description

Art is hijacked by Politics!
‘Mansudae Masterclass is about a journey to search for North Korean art business by building memorial monuments, statues, and architectures in 8 different African countries. In this film, we mainly focus on three different countries, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Senegal, where North Korea has made money since the 2000s. Also, we have recorded the other statues, monuments, and buildings built by North Korea in Congo, Sudan, Madagascar, Gabon and so on. This monument is not just a type of structure to memorize past age because the dictatorial personality displays an obsessive fascination. As a product of social history, monuments cause conflicts with local people religiously, economically, and artistically.

In Senegal, African Renaissance unveiled outside Dakar in 2010. It is a 49m tall bronze monument, taller than Statue of Liberty and Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer. On an opening day, all media focused on the connection between North Korea and Senegal because the head of the diplomatic department of North Korea joined the ceremony. Senegal’s unions protested for North Korean’s work in economic, religious and artistic reasons. We raise a question, “Why is North Korea in Senegal?” and “How could the Senegal president, Wade, and Kim Jong-il be friends and possibly influence each other?”

Robert Mugabe, a president of Zimbabwe, requested North Korea to build Joshua Nkomo’s statue in 2010. But the statue was decommissioned after its completion when former vice president Nkomo’s family objected. “We didn’t find the statue to be in the likeness of the man known as Father Zimbabwe. And we felt ashamed because thousands of Zimbabweans were massacred in the 1980s by Mugabe’s special security force, who had received military training by North Korean instructors.”

Namibia is a repeat customer and has built diverse memorial park and museums with North Korean artists. Journalist John Grobler tries to access this deal, but he can’t do.  This multi-million-dollar bid never opens to the public. So local artists and people have complained about their leaders wasting state funds on president’s palace and government buildings.

Our journey starts in the African continent to record the monuments made by North Korea from the 1970s to present and focuses on conflicts through monuments and architectures. And, we slowly approach to the world’s biggest art studio, called to MANSUDAE ART STUDIO, in Pyongyang, North Korea. In this film, we will unveil how the art is hijacked by political agenda and how dictator’s basic creative principal have effects on the architecture.

Director   ONEJOON CHE
Producers SINAE HA | WOOYOUNG CHOI
Production Manager AURELIEN LEINE
Running Time  52′
Year of Production 2016
Shooting Format   HD | 1920 X 1080 | 24p
Sound   Stereo
Languages Korean | English | French | Germany
Subtitles Korean | English
Genre  Documentary | Geo-political | Art & Culture
With Support Of   Korea Communication Agency (Korea) |  Quai Branly Museum (French) | Seoul Foundation For Arts and Culture (Korea) | Institute of Asian Cultural Development (Korea) | New Museum NYC (USA) | Broadcasting Content Promotion Foundation (Korea)

Broadcasted at

SBS (Korea)