Reviews of 'Made in North
Korea', an exhibition of
North Korean graphics in
Seoul

What visitors have been saying about Koryo Tours’ North Korean (DPRK) graphic design show in Seoul.

Reviews of 'Made in North Korea: Everyday Graphics from the DPRK' on in Seoul

With peace talks last year between North and South Korea, people from all around the world are taking a broader interest at North Korea, including aspects of the country usually not presented in the media.

Last month, the exhibition 'Made in North Korea: Graphics from Everyday Life in the DPRK' (메이드인 조선), opened in Seoul at the Hongik University Daehangno Arts Center. The exhibition is based on the book of the same name, written by Koryo Tours founder Nicholas Bonner and published by Phaidon Press.

Through the exhibition, I could look at the graphic design of North Korea, recalling our old designs, and make a comparison between the two...

— Exhibition visitor

The exhibition is a window to explore the unseen everyday lives of North Korean people. Simple but stylish everyday graphics of consumer products, posters, and ephemera tell stories with distinctive North Korean characteristics.

The exhibition, which runs until 7 April and judging by the comments it seems many South Koreans are willing to know and discover more about North Korea. An exhibition like this would not have been allowed nine months ago and there are still security laws regarding viewing such products let alone putting on such an exhibition.

The Seoul-based co-curators have commented:

“Even though Korea has been divided for 70 years, it seems like the younger generation of South Koreans has not forgotten about the North. Although cultural practices between the North and the South are very different, they still share a lot of the same history. We hope this exhibition can facilitate a small channel of communication for Korean people”.

The following are comments, translated from Korean, by visitors in Seoul:

"It was a great exhibition, and very unique. Through the exhibition, I could look at the graphic design of North Korea, recalling our old designs, and make a comparison between the two [North and South Korea]. I personally thought it was very fresh and pretty, rather than a retro trend. I applaud the person who collected all these graphics, but I wish I could see more than an exhibition."

“It was a wonderful chance to spend some quality time with children who are curious about North Korea.”

“It is not something we get to see very often, so it's more realistic and touching to see them on the exhibition. The balance of the colors is very interesting,”

There was also a visitor who thanked Nicholas Bonner for the exhibition: “A British person collected them in North Korea for 20 to 30 years and thanks to him we are able to see this great exhibition.”

“I looked at every display very carefully…It was very good and very interesting.”

“If you are interested in graphic design or North Korea, it is really worth visiting the exhibition.”

For more information about the exhibit in English, including ticket prices and opening hours, see our previous blog post on the exhibition.

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