For possibly the first time ever, North Korean art is being displayed in Europe, and the utopian optimism is heart-breaking. Yes, monster movies may not be the scariest culture North Korea ever produced.

According to the BBC News:

More than 100 oils, water colours and traditional Korean ink paintings, dating from the 1960s to the present day, have been brought from Pyongyang to Vienna's MAK Museum for Applied Arts and Contemporary Art for the show, called Flowers for Kim Il Sung; Art and Architecture from the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea.

The works show beaming farm women feeding geese and ducks, or plump, rosy-cheeked children wandering through fields of flowers. There is also a soldier lying in the snow, grinning as he looks up from his gun, untroubled by cold or fear.

And then there are the benevolent smiles in the pictures which have a special status in North Korea: the portraits of the Great Leaders, Kim Il Sung and his successor Kim Jong Il, shown hugging children, encouraging construction workers, and visiting peasants.

These portraits, which are cordoned off, have titles like "President Kim Il Sung is always with us", and "We are the happiest children in the world".

Not surprisingly, the exhibit has run into some criticism. Images via Kultur-Online and Build Magazin. There's a video at the link. [BBC News]

Blinded by the bright colors of the socialist utopia

Blinded by the bright colors of the socialist utopia

Blinded by the bright colors of the socialist utopia

Blinded by the bright colors of the socialist utopia

Blinded by the bright colors of the socialist utopia

Blinded by the bright colors of the socialist utopia