Monday, April 16, 2012

North Korean artist now showing work at The Dunes

Here's something you don't hear every day: a North Korean artist has an exhibit open now until April 30th at The Dunes, the gallery above The Getaway at 14th and Meridian. (The Washington Post says that's "near Columbia Heights." As opposed to what?) 

But anyway, the artist, Song Byeok, is a painter who does satirical propaganda like portraits of Kim Jong Il in a dress. Kim, the now-deceased dictator of the country, was presented in the country as a super-human (it was said he could change the weather, and he was reported to be an amazing athlete: his first bowling game was a perfect 300, his first golf game included five holes in one, and so on) and was painted many times in heroic portraits. 

Byeok has an interesting story: he himself was a former propaganda painter in the country and later fled to China to find food. His father perished in the attempt and Song was captured and held in a prison camp until he almost died. He was released when authorities believed he was about to die, but he recovered and went to China and then South Korea, and later came to the US thanks to a Kickstarter donation campaign. Pretty cool.

See below for a video about the artist.

Forever Freedom : Song Byeok's Art and Story from Song Byeok on Vimeo.

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