Journal #20/ “Faceless” artist touches divided Korea


Sun Mu is the first artist from North Korea who became famous in South Korea. He was trained to create posters and murals for the Communist government. He refused to be photographed and chose to be a “faceless” artist because he was afraid that people would attack his family back in North Korea for his controversial art. His art is considered to be controversial because he purposely intended irony on his posters and indirectly attacked the Communist government. He used propaganda to criticize and mock the North Korean government. Sun Mu’s works including the “Happy Children” series were thought to be very representative of the happy life that the North Koreans were living in the Communist community. However, when the works were brought to South Korea, people began to realize the irony behind the art, emphasizing how the smiles on the “Happy Children” were fake and sarcastic. I think his use of satire and propaganda in his artworks are noteworthy because they arouse deep thoughts and questions. He manages to make his art pass both as a straightforward Communist poster and as a satirical piece. I believe that artists’ works have very important roles in raising the people’s awareness of larger political issues between North and South Korea because with art, people can directly see the problems in the different governments. Sun Mu’s posters, for example, represent the happiness or unhappiness of the  childeren in North Korea under the Communist regime and questions the government. I believe that artworks are more approachable for people because they take require less time and are easier to interpret than long news articles.


February 20, 2009. Uncategorized.

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