Made in North Korea is now a show as well as a book!

Last night Nick Bonner launched a show of ephemera featured in his book at the House Of Illustration, London
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Nick Bonner at The House of Illustration - photo by Paul Grover
Nick Bonner at The House of Illustration - photo by Paul Grover

If you’re in London you should check out our Made in North Korea author Nick Bonner’s show at the House of Illustration in Kings Cross.

Nick launched the exhibition last night surrounded by a select bunch of guests and friends. He’s been running tours through his company Koryo Tours into North Korea since 1993 and much of the ephemera he’s brought back in the intervening years is featured in our book Made in North Korea: Graphics From Everyday Life in the DPRK and in the House of Illustration show of the same name. 

In his speech Nick thanked his mum for allowing him to store the ephemera in the family home, along with the House of Illustration for putting on an exhibition many might have considered too risqué. The book’s commissioner Virginia McLeod also got a shout out for recognising the treasure trove of graphic excellence Nick was sitting on when they met. Nick went on to tell a funny story about a film he made in 2000 on the surviving members of the 1966 World Cup North Korean football team. The team were responsible for the greatest shock in world cup history when Pak Do-ik struck the shot which consigned giants Italy to a 1-0 group stage defeat. 

 

The Made In North Korea launch at The House Of Illustration - photo by Paul Grover
The Made In North Korea launch at The House Of Illustration - photo by Paul Grover

“When we were filming we got on a tram and a north Korean official started taking all the old people slowly off, Nick said, "leaving only people who looked rather smart and shiny. When we asked the officials why they were doing this they replied: ‘Because you as foreigners will use these old people to make our country look decrepit.’

 

The Made In North Korea launch at The House Of Illustration - photo by Paul Grover
The Made In North Korea launch at The House Of Illustration - photo by Paul Grover

"When our soundman replied: 'aren’t you proud of your old people who fought for you in the Korean War' there was a short silence before they marched them all back on to the tram. From then on wherever we went we saw old people everywhere!”

 

The Made In North Korea launch at The House Of Illustration - photo by Paul Grover
The Made In North Korea launch at The House Of Illustration - photo by Paul Grover

But Nick hit a more serious note when he said: ‘the reason we put on the exhibition and did the book is because I hope it will make people think. What you hear about North Korea is true but it’s not a black and white thing and there’s a danger in lack of knowledge.” Hear hear. The show is on until May and the book is back in stock here.

 


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