A 1996 ink painting 129 x 193 cm. Girls With Calves offers a bucolic scene with two school students on their way to or from school having a jolly time with the local livestock. Likely to be a cooperative farm in the highlands. However, since much of Korea is highlands, we cannot pinpoint where!
You can also note a farmhand dressed in white medical-looking clothes. This demonstrates the care and hygiene showed in the countries livestock production. The girl is not wearing a pin of the leader Kim Il Sung as these are work clothes. And in North Korea, the pin is never worn in work attire.
The tractor signifies modernization. Indeed, such press of the time was made of the DPRK-made tractor. The full load of milk churns represents the success of the farm. Interestingly, Koreans tend to drink more milk than their Chinese counterparts, and the Koreans see policies right up to the increase of milk delivery to children as vitally important. The majority of milk in Korea is however from soybean. Indeed, bean milk delivery vehicles are called “Wang Cha”. This literally means ‘King Vehicle’. This is because bean milk delivery trucks receive special treatment and can run regardless of truck-restricted areas in downtown Pyongyang.
The colours pop out, a rich verdant foreground to express the richness of the pasture. The painting focuses on the standing girl as she gazes towards a bright future. The power of this is emphasized by the other two characters gazing admiringly up at her. Almost as if she had just given a passionate speech about the beauty of pastoral life… Under the wise guidance of the leader, no doubt.
Similar ‘joy of the country’ themes can be seen again and again in other artworks.
This art piece is from the Koryo Studio collection. Koryo Studio will exhibit this piece in our proposed gallery in Tuscany – contact us for details.
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