Ri Kyong Nam from the Korean Painting Production Company of the Mansudae Art Studio enjoys the fame at home and abroad as a prolific painter, whose works demonstrate his fascinating and unique brush strokes and strong national flavour.
Ri was born in 1940 in Jongju County of North Phyongan Province, as the only son of an ordinary family.
Though he showed no particular artistic inclinations in his young days, his assiduous nature, keen spirit of inquiry about nature and phenomena, and hand dexterity attracted his villagers. When he was over twenty, he took the advice of his relative and made up his mind to learn painting. In 1963 he was admitted to the oil painting department of the pictorial art faculty at the Pyongyang University of Fine Arts. His choice of subject seemed unsuitable for him, because it was a generally accepted opinion that those who were gifted for painting and diligently polished their skills would become painters.
Since he was a complete beginner to fine arts, he was intent on learning from the lecturers and his mates younger than him. In order to attain mastery of fine arts he forgot Sundays, holidays and vacations during his university days, and such his intensity and enthusiasm did not fade away after his graduation. After switching his special subject from oil painting to Korean painting, Ri produced excellent works and won the titles of Merited Artist in 1985 and People’s Artist in 1997.
It is an accepted view that painters would stick to their unique modes of artistic expression after they have earned fame for their masterpieces.
But Ri made redoubled efforts to attain a new, higher level in his artistic description.
His creative activities developed further in his sixties. He produced successively such paintings as Winter, Sangwon Valley in Mt Myohyang, Moran Hill in the Morning, Ever-green Pine Tree, and Pothong River in Winter, captivating the professionals and art enthusiasts with their fine artistic portrayal.
Conspicuous in his paintings is his excellent artistic representation of pine trees, magpies, persimmons and other objects familiar to the Korean people.
His Korean painting Mt Paektu won a special prize at the 12th international exhibition of watercolour paintings held in October 1990, in Rome, Italy, and he gave his one-man shows at home and abroad in 2005 and 2011. Ri Kyong Nam is now acknowledged in the fine art circles as a masterhand at painting, calligraphy and coating. Ri’s life motto is: Follow the path of virgin snow, and there will remain for sure your traces of efforts. Cherishing it in mind, he is devoting himself to creating excellent art pieces.