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Visiting the Mansudae Art Gallery

Mansundae Art Gallery

While the Mansundae Art Stdio is fairly world renowned, the Mansundae Art Gallery in the trendy 798 district of Beijing is slightly less so. What though is the place all about and is worth visiting? YPT went to find out.

There are many things that the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) are really good at, but receive little kudos for. This includes their beer, music, as well as their artistic skills.

Art wise this includes the usual paintings and specialist realism, but also huge monuments. These majestic creations can of course be seen throughout North Korea, but also more interestingly perhaps also throughout the world.

Prior to sanctions at least the DPRK built some of the best monuments in the world thought Africa, as well many other locales, such as Syria, China and even Cambodia.

And these talents are now been seen inmate mainstream settings, such as the Mansundade Art Gallery.

What the Mansundae Art Gallery?

Located in one of the most popular and indeed visiting places in Beijing, namely the 798 art district it was opened around 16 years ago, although there had been art exchanges for much longer. The place was set up with a duality of purpose, as in to be a place to promote art from the DPRK, as well be a Sino-Korean cultural exchange center.

Nowadays this means that there are a number of artists on campus regularly doing new works, much of it very different to the “normal” North Korean stuff, as well as being somewhat abstract.

Guests who come here can walk around and look at the art, visit the coffee shop, watch artists doing their thing, as well as buy DPRK posters, art, postcards and of course propaganda.

Yet despite all of this the overall vibe is not all that “North Korea”, with the place fitting in really snugly to the overall ethos of this slightly strange district for China.

Mansundae Art Gallery Address

798 Art Zone

798艺术区

Beijing

Peoples Republic of China

https://www.google.com/maps/place/798+Art+Zone/@39.984138,116.4935151,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x35f1aa4a989652f1:0x9327b7151dc78b63!8m2!3d39.984138!4d116.49609!16zL20vMDN3X3lo?entry=ttu

And the 798 Art District

Despite getting over 10 million visitors per year this was a place that had formerly not really registered all that much in life. I was though, this time at least drawn here for a meeting about visiting North Korea again for tourism.

This led us to not only the Mansundae Art Gallery, but also to exploring the wider area. Said 798 district was adapted from what were formerly factories, with North Korea actually being involved in them too, particularly with regards to the munitions part.

Aside from the North Korean part, there are also numerous other art projects, graffiti, random 4X4’s you can showboat in, as well as bars, restaurants and hotels – I will give 798 its own article at some point.

And the main thing about this sojourn? The fact that I might well get to go back to North Korea and eat its street food sooner rather than later…..