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A fun addition to the smallest room in the house

Even as lockdown is gradually relaxed in the UK, we need to be reminded to be on our guard, that Covid-19 is still a threat. The nice folks at Koryo Studio – an affiliate of the travel company that brought us Dan Gordon’s series of feature-length documentaries on North Korea – have commissioned a work from a North Korean artist to remind us of the importance of everyday hygiene. Choose from an A3-sized print or a larger hand-coloured version.

Koryo Studio commissions the first piece of art related to the Coronavirus outbreak produced in North Korea

Inside Koryo Tours

Our last visit to North Korea was in January 2020 before the country closed its borders because of the outbreak of coronavirus in China. We knew from North Korea’s main television channel, Juche Television, that the country was putting out hygiene advice as early as January 30th via its news bulletin 12pm and 8pm (see below).

Without access to see how the country was responding to this crisis, we set a brief to a North Korean artist to produce an artwork that would reflect how hygiene instructions are being handed out to their populace.

We produced a poster inspired by North Korean propaganda art and embracing the message that we nowadays hear in every corner of the world: “Wash your hands!”

As Koryo Studio director Nicholas Bonner (who commissioned the piece, from his North Korean artist contacts) said, “When we realised that North Koreans were being instructed on hygiene rules, we imagined that the message would also be handed out, as it often is, through visual notices in the form of propaganda posters. However, as North Korea was the first country to close and it still remains inaccessible, we had no way of finding out what visual imagery they would be using to prepare their citizens”.

Wash Hands poster

Koryo Studio worked with the artist over email and it took a few weeks for us to get the first sketch. By this time, the health emergency was global. We asked the artist to add the year and he did so in such a way as to make it rather striking with ‘2020’ looming behind the diligent hand-washing lady. What was originally intended as a simple instructional piece became something more significant by highlighting this horrible year. However, the fact that the artist depicted doves and blue skies also presents a note of optimism.

The first edition is limited to 200 prints. For more details and purchase visit:

Koryo Studio specializes in North Korean art. As well as commissioning works for sale, we have one of the finest collections of North Korean art ranging from the 1950s to present. To encourage discourse, we exhibit works from both our collection and commissions at galleries and educational institutions around the globe. For our pdf on projects we have worked on since our establishment in 1993 please click here.

For any other information, artwork purchases, or commissions, don’t hesitate to contact Koryo Studio on [email protected]

Find out more about the print on the Koryo Studio website.


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