01
Jul
10

Flowers for Kim Il-sung

(Source: France24)

Vienna’s MAK Museum currently has a rare exhibition of North Korean art work. When I first read about this event I knew I would be going. Within a day I had my ticket to Vienna booked; I leave tomorrow. Of course, there is some controversy surrounding the exhibition. North Korea is, by fact of its very existence, controversial. Part of the compromise for showing the paintings was that there is no explanation about the regime. The Museum argues that everyone knows well enough what a miserable country it is. Critics argue that showing the art work is promoting the regime’s propaganda and by extension the regime.

For me, this is of little import. Sure it can be seen from both sides but as someone who knows very well the human rights abuses taking place in North Korea, I feel I’ve made an informed decision about going to see this exhibition.

This is very much a rare chance to see art work from North Korea. I can envisage scenarios in North Korea’s future where such art work may not survive the test of time. When a regime falls either suddenly or at least not via a slow, stable transition, the nasty realities and corruptness of the regime can be harshly exposed to an angry public. In such cases, treasures of the now hated regime do not stand a good changes of survival. Who knows what will happen to North Korea’s art work but I think I’ll take my chance to see it now rather than wait for later.

Am I giving money to the regime – I expect that they have been paid for this exhibition of which some of my admission fee will contribute. However, I think the arms trade they do is probably keeping them in business more than whatever portion of my nine euro they will receive.

As avid fans of this blog will already know, I visited Vienna in December last year as well. I had a great time and am excited to be going again and this time in warmer weather. Although Vienna does do Christmas very well. My winter red hat was such a smashing success I am thinking of getting myself a nice new summer hat while I’m there. I’m thinking light blue.

Update on the exhibition to follow when I return.

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