Art Forum: North Korean Artists Defy Kim Jong-un by Participating in United Nations Exhibition

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Written by Kiara Ventura

Edited by Lauren Cavalli

The International Youth Exhibition at New York’s United Nations headquarters in Manhattan includes works submitted in secret by four North Korean artists, Carl Campanile of the New York Post reports. The artists had to successfully bypass government officials in order to participate in the show since the majority of artwork created in North Korea must adhere to strict guidelines set by Kim Jong-un’s regime.

Organized by the Beijing-based nonprofit Eye Art International in partnership with the UN-affiliated journal Society & Diplomatic Review, the exhibition is part of a cultural offensive established by China. According to the project statement, it was “inspired by the People’s Republic of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, an ambitious development campaign through which China hopes to boost trade, stimulate economic growth and enhance cultural communication across Asia and beyond.”

The works, which include one painting of a mother and toddler looking at Korean architecture and another of a North Korean woman wearing a national costume, are currently on display in the delegates’ entrance of the UN as part of the fifty-artist exhibition, which is on view until August 11. The artists, who could have faced harsh reprisals if they had been caught, signed the works anonymously.

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