North Korea Is Making Cheap, Soviet-Style Propaganda Statues For Cash-Strapped Countries Like Senegal

August 6, 2014 | Marina Galperina

This bronze African Renaissance Monument towers above the slummy, unfinished house of the Mamelles district in Dakar, Senegal. It’s not exactly inspiring, as the Senegalese government is replete with corruption and is being investigated for embezzlement. Meanwhile, 47% of the country’s residents live below the poverty line. But wait, it looks… familiar…

Slate’s Atlas Obscure blog explains:

The colossal monument’s Soviet-influenced, Socialist realism style makes sense when you consider that it was built by Mansudae Overseas Projects, a division of North Korea’s government-run propaganda art factory.

Founded in 1959, Mansudae Art Studio employs around 4,000 North Koreans at its Pyongyang headquarters, 1,000 of which are artists handpicked from rigorous national institutions like Pyongyang University. These artists spend their days producing beautifully detailed propaganda, such as portraits of rosy-cheeked farm maidens, paintings of North Korea’s glorious countryside, and One Can Always Lose, a series of 10 paintings depicting North Korea’s 1-0 win over Italy during round one of the 1966 World Cup. All public images of Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Il-sung, including the enormous statues in Pyongyang, are the work of Mansudae artists.

Mansudae Overseas Projects has so far built Soviet-style Socialist-looking statues for 18 cash-strapped countries in Africa and Asia. It’s a bargain! Just $27 million for this thing! Which is basically this thing from the Soviet Union, minus the hammer and sickle, plus pointing baby, with the chick moved back to be cradled in the muscular man-arm. Ta-da.

(Photos: Jeff Attaway/Creative Commons)