At the Mansudae Art Studio, a well-known fine art producer of Korea, there is Kim Il Sung Prize Winner, Kim Jong Il Prize Winner and People’s Artist Ryu Ha Ryul who has been devoting his all to creation of sculptures for 60 years.
He was born and grew up in a mountain county of Ryanggang Province. During his middle school days he sculptured a world-famous man on advice of his teacher, enjoying praise. After all, he became interested in sculpture and afterwards, entered the then Pyongyang University of Fine Arts.
At that time, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was bringing about a great upsurge in all sectors and all fields at the speed of Chollima, a legendary winged horse which is said to be running a thousand ri a day, which ushered in the Chollima era. Chollima was a symbol of Korea. The news that the great leader Kim Il Sung examined the draft of the Chollima Statue in Juche 48(1959) was spread to the university as well. Ryu Ha Ryul called on creators of the statue and said with excitement.
“I am also a student of the Chollima era. As a student specializing in sculpture, I want to devote my wisdom and passion to the erection of the Chollima Statue.” This is how he took part in the project for erecting the Chollima Statue widely known to the world as a monument demonstrating the heroic stamina of the Korean people and as a symbol of Chollima Korea during his university days.
People’s Prize was awarded to the Chollima Statue on Mansu Hill at the foot of Moran Hill in Pyongyang City. Ryu Ha Ryul regards it as the greatest pride in his life that he took part in the erection of the statue. Over the 60 years since then, he has created many wonderful sculptures.
He created many monumental sculptures of the country such as those of the gateposts of the West Sea Barrage, those in front of the Mansudae Art Theatre and the sculpture of Hero of the DPRK Jo Ok Hui. He also created a number of sculptures with strong national colouring. Typical are the sculptures “Fairy”, “Blessed Child”, “After-School Hours” and “Okryudong”.
During an international sculpture festival he made a sculpture on the spot to the admiration of the jury and participants in the festival. They said in unison: “I have never imagined so high level of development of sculpture of Korea.” “Korea has produced another world-famous sculptor.” “I cannot but admire the civilization of Korea.”
Ryu Ha Ryul is nearing 80. Kim Il Sung Prize Winner, Kim Jong Il Prize Winner and People’s Artist Ryu Ha Ryul says: “I have an urge to do something more for the motherland until the last moment of my life. But sometimes my body refuses to work for my desire. Now I make monumental miniatures and drafts and hand them over to the younger generations. Such miniatures and drafts of different contents and forms will be instructive to them, I think.” The 60 years devoted to creation of sculptures were those years when creator Ryu Ha Ryul has depicted the history of socialist Korea which has made epochal changes under the guidance of the great leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and the true features of the Korean people who have led a dignified and proud life.