The story of Kim Jong-il’s propaganda artist – and how he escaped death to mock North Korea

The story of Kim Jong-il’s propaganda artist – and how he escaped death to mock North Korea

One of Song Byeok’s most recognisable paintings is his depiction of Marilyn Monroe in her iconic dress. Where Monroe’s head should be is the face of the late North Korean despot Kim Jong-il.

This kind of artistic satire was once unthinkable for North Korean dissident Song. Under Kim Jong-il’s totalitarian regime, he was recruited by the government to paint propaganda pictures. Since fleeing North Korea to escape starvation, Song now creates satirical images of the Dear Leader and the North Korean regime as a dissident.

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