[imText1]How Much is Paid for Construction of a Statue?
Not only is the approximate number of statues not exact, but because the cost also depends on the size and the materials used to manufacture each one, it is difficult to estimate the total value. Also, because the statues of Kim Il Sung are gold plated, it is rumored that several hundred tons of gold are needed to manufacture them.
A gold spray is used to coat the statues. Because the structure is made of bronze, it can corrode in the rain and wind. Therefore, every two years each figure is recoated with gold spray.
However, there is one part of the structure that is manufactured in solid gold. To keep the statue from being struck by lightening, there is a rod of gold inserted in the center. There is a story told of a man who extracted a gold rod from one of the revered commemorative statues of Kim Il Sung during the extreme food shortage in 1997 and sold it to China. His deed was discovered and it is said that half way through his trial, the man committed suicide by hanging himself.
The spray used to coat the statues is brought in from Germany at a very high cost. Because of this, it is said that the spray is only used on the statues of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Hyung Jik. Seen this way, from the cost of raw materials to the cost of management, the production expenses add up to an enormous sum of money that transcends imagination.
Also, according to the U.S. daily publication, “Christian Science,” management of the Kim father and son propaganda paraphernalia takes up 40% of North Korea’s national budget. The country’s most representative structure of idolization is the Mt. Keumsoo Memorial Palace, which enshrines the remains of Kim Il Sung. Its construction costed 890 million dollars. For the several million people that starved to death in North Korea in the mid-1990s, this money could have afforded 6 million tons of corn.
In addition to the Palace, other structures dedicated to the adoration of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il include all kinds of statues, a revolutionary ideology research institute, historical sites, old battle fields and local monuments, “eternal life towers”, slogan trees, slogans carved on natural rocks. The propagandistic symbols erected for idolization of the Kim’s family all together come to a total of approximately 140,000 structures.
Who Will Construct the Kim Il Sung Statue?
The construction of statues in the likeness of the Kim father and son is the sole responsibility of the art institute from each province and “No. 1 Works Department” of the Mansudae Art Institution. Here, it is said that the “number one works” include the Kim father and son portraits, statues, badges featuring the busts of the dictators, and any images of the two featured on all types of publications.
No one outside of the artists affiliated with the “No. 1 Works Department” is allowed to construct art in the likeness of the leaders. These artists must undergo a test of their technique annually. After having passed the test, the artists’ skill and talent is evaluated by the deliberation committee of the Mansudae Art Institution, and if selected, they receive a certification.
Once construction commences, a precise design is followed. Knowing not a single error will be tolerated, those participating in the construction are appointed to the task of working under the severest tension, as they take their death upon the project. The funds required for the construction are referred to as “special procurement funds” and are deducted from the bank’s special procurements / emergency provisions department without limitation.
A statue constructed in this way is accepted as no different from the living leader himself and is accompanied during transport to and at the site where it is to be erected by vehicles from the National Security Agency, the Party Committee, and the People’s Safety Agency. With all vehicles at a standstill, the crowd is made to pay homage to the erected statue.
To ensure the citizens’ vigilance of the statue, lamps are lit from sundown to 10 p.m. and from 4 a.m. to sunrise, and every day at dawn the citizens are made to clean the statue and the surrounding area.
In the early part of 1993, under the direction of Kim Jong Il, construction on an “underground bunker” for the purpose of sheltering all statues, busts and portraits of the Kim father and son and Kim Jong Il’s mother, Kim Jong Suk, was initiated throughout the entire country.
The “underground bunker,” carved out through tunnels reaching 50 to 66 square meters beneath the surface, was dubbed the “Number One Escort Room” and consisted of three separate spaces: the “Supreme Leader’s room” for Kim Il Sung, the “Leader’s Room” for Kim Jong Il, and the “Mother’s Room” for Kim Jong Suk paraphernalia. Each section of the “Number One Escort Room” is carpeted and adorned with luxurious wall paper. In a time of emergency, statues and busts of the Kim father and son are encased in an iron chest and transferred through the tunnels to the bunker.