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EXPORT BOOM: North Korean socialist realist statues all the rage with African regimes

North Korea has developed a whole new export market: big, simple and cheap socialist realist statues for tin pot little African countries.

Senegal – despite regular electricity blackouts and crumbling infrastructure – allocated tens of millions of dollars to a monumental North Korean statue:

The African Renaissance is Mansudae’s biggest work yet, measuring 164 feet high and crowning two barren hills in Dakar called “Les Mamelles” at the westernmost point of Africa. That makes it taller than either the Statue of Liberty (151 feet) or Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer (100 feet). The statue depicts a father holding a baby in his left arm. The man’s right arm is around the waist of the baby’s mother. The three are reaching out to the sky and out to the ocean.

“Its message is about Africa emerging from the darkness, from five centuries of slavery and two centuries of colonialism,” says Mr. Wade.

Other African countries have opted for smaller but no less emphatic monuments:

Namibia boasts a bronze of its founding president wielding an AK-47.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the North Korean government owned statue making firm Mansuadae:

Mr. Wade demanded modifications to Mansudae’s first version of the African Renaissance. “It had to have African heads, not Asian!” Mr. Wade says. The same problem had occurred with some of the statues Mansudae had made for Mali, according to his cultural advisers.

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