North Korea’s Growing Statue & Monument Business

While recent news reports on North Korea have focused on nuclear & rocket programs, the DPRK is also making headlines for its expertise in large statues & monuments both for domestic use & an increasing number of international clients. Korea FM spoke with Italian art collector & North Korean Mansudae Art Studio representative Pier Cecioni & Washington Post Tokyo Bureau Chief Anna Fifield to learn more about how Pyongyang’s monuments & statues have found increasing demand around the world.

Posh nobs - Statue in Busan

Posh nobs - Statue in Busan

Standing proud near the new BIFC and Busan bank is a rather unusual fellow.

Like an English gentlemen he welcomes everyone to the new finance centre.

Tradition and the Lion

Tradition and the Lion

On the way to Oryukdo I found a Buddhist temple that seems relatively unknown to the tourist. It is in fact one of the learning centres for Buddhism, and a great opportunity for a few more photos.

Still as Stone

Suwon: A Great Place to Shite

Korea is not afraid of honouring the unusual. With any number of festivals for all sorts of reasons throughout the year, there is definitely a culture of self praise. Suwon, where I humbly reside, is no stranger to such honorific displays, and today myself and Herself decided to visit a recently famous tourist location in the city, Mr. Toilet House.

Yes, that’s right. It is a house that was built to celebrate toilets. And why not says I? Sure, isn’t it one of those things which we shit down on all our life and never actually turn around and congratulate for the good work they do, day in, day out, all over the world. So, toilets of the world, I salute you.

5 Awesomely Awesome Things

I know I said big things are coming, and they are, they're just a little slower than I had hoped.

In the mean time, I am going to introduce a something new that is a bit smaller than the big things coming down the line.

To make Mondays a bit happier I am introducing a new weekly series of Awesome Things.  Everyone loves awesome things, so I decided to share some things in the world that  I find particularly awesome.

This week is inspired by Japan, the Olympics, and other cool stuff.

Black & White | Busan, South Korea

A temple guardian monster in Busan


Art at shrine temple in Busan


Train Station Friend

I made a friend at the train station the other day.  I’m kinda jealous, look how skinny he is!

Honestly though, I really like the style of this statue~ He is pretty cute! ♥  I should have posed like he was stepping on me while reading or something haha I don’t think the people in the train station would have been amused by that though.

Good day. (A Mother's Love)

Good day. (A Mother's Love)

Taken at the 40 Steps Culture and Tourism Theme Street in Jungang-dong, Busan.  "The 40 Steps Culture and Tourism Theme Street is where Japanese visitors can feel traces of their ancestors from more than 100 years ago. Veterans and others interested in the Korean War will find the area an important feature of the Korean War."  (  Various statues depicting traditional Korean scenes, including this woman breast-feeding her child, can be found throughout the streets near Jungang-dong Station.  All the statues in the area were commisioned by the city for this theme and made by a Korean artist (forget the name).  The statues have been up for public viewing since 2004. 


About the shot: A few techniques were used to create this image.  First, a tonemap, using 3 different exposures and blended, creates the high detail and contrast; then, the picture was divided into colors and greys, their separation meant to evoke both the modern and the traditional; and, the train lights that were originally red were manipulated to become green and red, in order to outline a tension and release.  The "joys and sorrows" of war are manifest even in the most ordinary (my taking the shot), tender (the mother and child) and passing (history, the train tracks) circumstances.   Taken October 2009 in Jungang-dong, Busan.

©2009 Kevin Baylon

What sound?? Dead as leaves.

What sound?? Dead as leaves.

A diptych containing photos of statues taken at 40 Steps Culture and Tourism Theme Street, in Jungang-dong, Busan.  "When the Korean War broke in 1950, many refugees were driven into Busan and most settled temporarily in the hilly section of the Donggwang-dong area. At the time, as communications were not well developed, the area of the 40 steps was used as a reuniting area for separated families. As such, the area is deeply imbedded among Korean War refugees as the spot of severe joy and sorrow."  (  Here, an old man prepares to make popcorn while two children stand in horror in anticipation of the explosions.  Taken October 2009.


©2009 Kevin Baylon

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