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North Korea

North Korean propaganda posters on show in Hong Kong

Known for their bright colours and slogans, the posters are designed to inform the hermit nation’s citizens of economic and social policies. HKU is showing a collection of 20th century posters

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 November, 2017, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 November, 2017, 1:31pm

As US leader Donald Trump handshakes his way around China as part of his Asia tour, one country he won’t be visiting is North Korea.

Tensions between Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un have escalated in the past few months over Kim’s nuclear missile programme, sending nervous ripples around the globe.

Last month various news publications reported that propaganda posters, presumed to be from North Korea, portraying Trump as a “mad dog” with tag lines including “Death to old lunatic Trump” were found in the South Korean capital, Seoul.

So an exhibition of propaganda posters from the hermit state, to be shown at The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) at the University of Hong Kong, starting this month, seems topical.

“Korea’s Public Face: Twentieth-century Propaganda Posters” runs from November 29 to January 28, 2018 and is organised in collaboration with UMAG and North Korea scholar and Stanford Fellow Katharina Zellweger.

“All of these state-commissioned posters promote ‘correct’ forms of socialist realism, thereby documenting the socio-political and economic policies communicated from the Leader to the North Korean people.

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In so doing, daily activities are aligned with political beliefs; for example, the metaphorical configuration of rice farming with the cultivation of socialism,” UMAG says.

“Messages on the posters such as ‘Spinning tops is fun!’, ‘Rice is socialism. Let us concentrate all efforts on agriculture!’ and ‘More Cotton!’ relate to agricultural, industrial and social developments in the country, while portraying a distinctly human picture of the varied urban and rural communities.”

Korea’s Public Face: Twentieth-century Propaganda Posters

Nov 29 to Jan 28, 9.30am-6pm (Mon to Sat), 1pm to 6pm (Sun).

University Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong, 90 Bonham Rd, Pok Fu Lam, tel: 2241 5500. Admission free