The train controller is responsible for inspecting sections of track and here we have a young woman carrying out her duties with joy (all artists express workers in this joyous state- welcome to the socialist realism style or an idealised life). The artist surrounds the controller with streaked white lines, not only to emphasise her pull but also to denote the power and speed of the Red Flag locomotive can be felt. The detail of the train and the electric overhead wires are clearly recognisable in the foreground, but the rest of the train is lost in a blur. The black marks at the bottom left corner emphasise the train bursting along through the picture as she remains planted to her position.
Koryo Studio keep the first print and we have just a few of this popular piece left but these are rare, amongst the artists last work before he died.
The Red Flag train is a locally made electric train, its first edition built in 1961 and it represented a significant achievement for DPRK and something they are rightly very proud of this engineering feat. The locomotive appeared as ‘an object’ representing modernisation strength and power- an example in the publication Pulse (Dongmaek)
Electrification of the railways in North Korea was a major government project started prior to the Korean War and picked up again from the late 1950s to the early 70s. Unfortunately, since that time the electrical supply has been somewhat unreliable and as a result diesel trains are more likely to run on time.