Satirical painting of Park Geun-hye causes a row

Normally I try to keep my coverage of Korean politics somewhat high-brow, but this painting is just too good not to share. No need to describe it — the picture is literally worth a thousand words here:

The painting, by artist Hong Seong-dam, is titled: “Golden Time – Dr. Choi In-hyeok salutes his newborn excellency”. The painting is on display at the Peace Museum in Jongno, as a part of the installation titled Portraits of Yushin. (You can check out other arts in the installation on the Peace Museum’s website.)

Obviously, Park’s camp is not (ahem) a happy camper for this. The camp issued a statement that called the painting a “reckless negative campaign with the election being only 30 days away.” The statement also said: “The painting, realistically depicting as if candidate Park is giving birth, does not only demean women but cause many citizens to feel ashamed.ย  . . . Art must remain art, and if it is out of the art’s realm if it becomes a tool of political propaganda. This is reminiscent of Goebbels of the Nazis.”

More reminiscent of Park Chung-hee of South Korea, actually.

  • thekorean

    Bonus point – if you don’t want a satirical painting where your ilk seems to be saluting a baby, maybe you shouldn’t have a huge birthday celebration for a murderous dictator in which you call him “half-man, half-god of a leader.”

  • madar

    Seriously, you are backing the child of an ex-dictator to become the president and you expect this not to be an issue?

  • WangKon936

    Hummm… I thought Koreans didn’t get satire.

  • CactusMcHarris


    That’s some different Korea than I was in, that’s for sure. I like the balls of it and the message, too.

  • pawikirogii ็Ÿณ้ต

    ‘I thought Koreans didnโ€™t get satire.’

    took the thought right out of my head. this pic is disgusting and disrespectful. pak chong hee made korea what it is today so the painter should be thankful he has the time for such frivolities. he should hope lady pak doesn’t become president but too bad for him, it seems she will be.

  • bulgasari

    They talk as if the Nazis were bad or something. Perhaps a non-apology of the sort that the cosmetics company Coreana didn’t issue a few years ago will serve…

  • ZenKimchi

    You need a new tag for some of your posts–NSFL (Not Safe For Lunch)

  • Robert Koehler

    I take it you’re saving the summit transcript for me?

  • thekorean

    @8, as I said, I like to keep my politics coverage high-brow — which automatically excludes Cho Gab-je in most circumstances. Take it away, and I will be sure to pump in some venom ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • dinkus maximus

    That would look great in my living room.

  • Adams-awry


    The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

  • feld_dog

    Brutal and brilliant satire.
    That such a thing can exist is a sign of the health and robustness of Korean democracy and freedom of speech.

    However, the utter cluenessness of the Park camp statement is both ominous and depressing.

    Korean satire may be healthier than most westerners give it credit for, but there are still many many conservative Koreans who believe that leaders should not be made fun of, never never ever.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “Hummmโ€ฆ I thought Koreans didnโ€™t get satire.”

    It would seem quite a few of them still don’t, though things certainly seem to be changing for the better.

  • Flyingsword K

    The best reason to support Park is nk hate her.

    But, if they like, the Koreans vote for Comrade No’s successor and go back to giving billions of won the nK for no return.

  • hamel

    Adams-awry: thanks for the Biblical quote.

    If daughter Park were someone who had staked her political capital on being very much her own person, instead of trying to co-opt her father’s legacy, that quote might even apply.

  • Sperwer

    Can’t she reasonably adopt and adapt the positive aspects of PCH’s legacy without being accused of wanting to replicate Yushin lock, stock and barrel?

  • hamel

    I don’t see how that could be the case.

  • Sperwer

    You don’t think she can pick and choose among PCH’s legacy or you don’t think she can do so without being (falsely) accused otherwise?

  • thekorean

    Canโ€™t she reasonably adopt and adapt the positive aspects of PCHโ€™s legacy without being accused of wanting to replicate Yushin lock, stock and barrel?

    What were the positive aspects of PCH’s legacy?

  • babotaengi

    I wouldn’t know (economic growth? Infrastructure? Dragging S. Korea kicking and screaming out of the dark ages?), but my Gyeongsan inlaws revere him with veritable hero worship.

  • pawikirogii ็Ÿณ้ต

    positive aspects of pjh legacy? how bout eating?

  • hamel

    I think that a certain scholarship fund would pose a significant obstacle to either.

  • hardyandtiny

    why is the painting in two parts?

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