OAN’s Shawntel Smith-Hill
1:08 PM – Friday, July 28, 2023
A newly opened state-run art exhibit unveiled its first paintings of the country’s leader, after lifting a rule that previously prohibited artists from depicting him.
The propaganda pieces are on display at the Okryu Exhibition House in the country’s capital, Pyongyang. All of the unusual pieces display some unconventional and fantastical portrayal of the dictator, with some of the art depicting him visiting schools for orphans and riding a horse atop Mount Paektu, North Korea’s tallest peak.
The catalog of paintings is a part of a larger exhibit celebrating North Korea’s 70th Anniversary of the “victory in the Fatherland Liberation War,” which, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), is a name commonly used in the country to remember the Korean Armistice Agreement that put an end to the Korean War in 1953.
At least eight paintings of the supreme leader depicted him in a flattering light and were reportedly the first ever portraits to be officially approved by Kim himself. The exhibit also featured paintings of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
The KCNA described the paintings as depicting “one victory after another in the confrontation with imperialism and the U.S. that have lasted for centuries.”
The North Korean leader has reportedly also commissioned three murals of himself, which will be on public display.
Notable officials from Russia were also present among those attending the country’s Victory Day celebration. North Korean state media reported on Thursday that Russia’s defense minister accompanied Kim to a defense exhibition that featured the country’s arsenal of illegal intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), in a move that strengthens ties between the two countries.
The Russian minister, Sergei Shoigu, and a Chinese delegation led by a Communist Party Politburo member came to North Korea this week to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Korean War, known as “Victory Day” in North Korea.
Since 2006, the United Nations Security Council has adopted nine major sanctions resolutions against North Korea, which both China and Russia supported.
Shoigu was the first Russian to visit North Korea since the Soviet Union split in 1991.
“(Kim) expressed his views on the issues of mutual concern in the struggle to safeguard the sovereignty, development and interests of the two countries from the high-handed and arbitrary practices of the imperialists and to realize international justice and peace,” North Korean media said.
Li Hongzhong, a Chinese Communist Party Politburo member, also met with the North Korean leader, delivering a letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping, the KCNA reported.
According to White House national security spokesman John Kirby, Russia’s overtures to North Korea come at a time when the Kremlin is struggling to obtain armaments.
“It’s been no secret … Mr Putin is reaching out to other countries for help and support in fighting his war in Ukraine. And that includes, we know, some outreach to (North Korea),” he said.
The appearance of officials from China and Russia appears to be a show of solidarity between the three countries, which in the past years, have had a steadily degrading relationship with the United States, slowly revitalizing what some analysts see as their Cold War-era coalition.
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