China awards artists from North

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China awards artists from North

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Two North Korean painters, Jeong Chang-mo, 75, and Seon U-young, 60, were awarded gold prizes in the 8th Beijing International Art Biennale held in October 2005.
“I know the artistic level of North Korean painters since I have seen their work, but I didn’t know North Korean paintings were so appreciated in Chinese art circles,” said Shin Dong-hoon, 57, a Korean American and the owner of Sasco Gallery in Silver Springs, Maryland. Mr. Shin, who also goes by the name Edmond Hoon Shin, is the head of the Korean Art Association there and was recently in Pyongyang when the prizes awarded.
Thousands of painters from various provinces in China and 300 artists from 20 other countries presented their work and the two North Koreans came out on top of the more than 10,000 artists.
Recently Chinese artists have been receiving more worldwide attention and it is meaningful that at the Beijing Biennale, the Chinese have taken an interest in North Korean artists, Mr. Shin said.
“The judges in the Beijing Biennale stated that the selected North Korean paintings had tasteful colors, refined technique and a strong and exceptional touch, which received positive reviews from spectators,” he added. “The North Koreans were excited by the fact that they were recognized in an international event.”
Mr. Shin specializes in North Korean arts and has visited North Korea once a year over the last 20 years. During that time, he has met a lot of people in the Stalinist nation and won the trust of North Korean officials.
“My dream is to connect North and South Korea through art,” Mr. Shin said.
He plans to hold an art exhibition this year to introduce the paintings of Mr. Jeong and Mr. Seon, having already discussed the matter with the North Korean authorities.
Mr. Shin said he was surprised to see many South Korean songs included in the list of songs in a karaoke in Pyongyang when there was a party to celebrate the winning of the awards.


by Jeong Jae-suk

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