Art Term

Minjung art

Minjung art was a South Korean socio-political art movement that emerged in 1980 after the Gwangju Massacre, in which some 200 peaceful demonstrators were killed by government troops

In the wake of the atrocities, artists sought to promote their desire for democracy through collective action, agitating for political change through mural paintings, banners and pamphlets. With their struggle, came a desire to create a truly Korean form of modern art that rejected the influences of the West and took inspiration instead from traditional Korean culture. Their struggle for democracy and human rights resulted in suppression, with artist Hong Sung-dam being imprisoned in 1987 on charges of collaboration with North Korea.

The group disbanded in the early 1990s leaving a strong tradition of critical engagement for a new generation of artists. Artists associated with the group include O Jun, Lee Chul-Soo and Kim Bong-Chun.