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Joonho Kwon

Born in Korea, Republic of. Lives in: London
Royal College of Art

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication in South Korea and subsequently moved to London for postgraduate studies. Having the opportunity to experience two totally different cultures has forced me to think about the relationship between art and the society in which I live. The question ‘What is communication design?’ has come to lie at the core of my practice in this context.
 Through contemporary visual communication I have focused on and researched two fundamental questions: ‘How is culture created in a society?’ and ‘How can the public be involved in forming their own cultural identity?’

Artist photo

Artist Picture

Work of art I would like to make

South Korea is the only divided county in the world. It has divided for more than 60 years since 1948, and North Korea has influenced the way of South Korean’s thinking. Since the division, the military service has been compulsory for all the guys who are over 20, and they have been educated that North Korea was the national enemy, rather than compatriots. In the result of this, We, South Korean, only have unsubstantiated hostility of North Korea rather than independent and figurative images.

North Korean economy has completely collapsed because of Collapsing of the former Soviet Union, economic disturbing from the international society and incompetence North Korean government. Women became the worsted victims in this country under the masculine regulations. The women who were used to be good at dressing up in 70s and 80s had to hold a shovel and tools. They have tried to escape, but what they had to cross was not only the physical space, but They had to go through the cold-hearted people who were more colder than the winter river that they had to cross.

Many of them had to give up being human. This work is a record about those people.
Although the subject of this project is the female North Korean refugees, it is not a project only about those people. The human right abuse of North Korean women, specially who had escaped and were imprisoned is terribly grave. According to their testimonies, they had no rights, no protections and no benefits as equal public. However, this problem is not only the problem of North Korea. In many 3rd world countries, women are very often denied their human rights solely because of their gender. This is not a special issue from certain countries and periods, but common and contemporary issue that we can easily notice if we look around our neighbour. I have tried to talk about the general human rights issue through the story of female North Korean refugees who came from the most isolated country in the world.

My Artworks (5)

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