Nicholas Bonner’s previous book, Made in North Korea, offered a fascinating introduction to North Korean graphic design, with images of food packaging, postcards, airline tickets and ephemera from the totalitarian state. The book generated a huge amount of coverage in mainstream news and the design press and led to an exhibition at London’s House of Illustration.
His latest publication explores North Korea’s printing heritage and the role of visual art in disseminating propaganda. Printed in North Korea brings together over 200 woodblock and linocut prints from the past 70 years, which depict the everyday lives of residents – from farmers to steelworkers and fisherman.
Bonner – who is based in Beijing – has spent the past 20 years organising trips to North Korea through his travel company Koryo Tours, and has been collecting prints since the 1990s. Here, we talk to him about the appeal and importance of these prints and what they tell us about life in the DPRK.