Artists Censorship News China

Secretive North Korean artist’s show cancelled in Beijing

Sun Mu’s controversial political works inspired by propaganda imagery may have been censored

Sun Mu's Look at us based on North Korean propaganda, includes the text "Let us endure hardship with a smile!"

An exhibition of works by the North Korean-born artist known as Sun Mu was cancelled at the Yuan Art Museum in Beijing in July, with South Korean press reports stating that the show was censored because of its political content.

Sun Mu, who keeps his identity secret for security reasons, makes controversial works inspired by North Korea’s cartoonish propaganda imagery (he worked as an official propaganda artist himself before defecting in 1998). China is one of the country’s key allies, and Chinese police reportedly removed the artist’s paintings, as well as banners advertising the show.

Sun Mu could not be reached for comment, and representatives of the museum declined to comment.


Sun Mu's portrait of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il
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