Individual Submission Summary

Direct link:

The New Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and Visual Narratives of Pyongyang

Sat, March 28, 5:00 to 7:00pm, Chicago Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Floor: Level 4, Sheraton Ballroom II


For decades, monuments, buildings, and public spaces oriented to the Taedong River, notably the colossal statue of the Mansudae Grand Monument, the Juche tower, and Kim Il Sung Square as well as the “spy ship” Pueblo, have dominated public perceptions and told the essential stories of Pyongyang. This dominance is now challenged visually and spatially by the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum on the Potong River. This museum was “remodeled into a monumental edifice last year, the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War (1950-1953), under the care of supreme leader Kim Jong Un” (KCNA). This paper compares the spectacular reinvention of VFLWM, which features a grand sculptural plaza and display of military hardware, imposing architecture adorned with sepia-toned socialist realist mosaics, and a lavish array of interior imagery, to its austere Soviet-style 1974 predecessor and to the constellation of older monuments on the Taedong River in order to place the new museum within the existing visual narrative of the capital city and to consider some of its political implications.