The North Korean regime has recently issued orders to search for a suitable place to erect Kim Jong Un’s solo ‘mosaic mural’ in each province. The regime appears to be accelerating idolization projects as Kim Jong Un enters the sixth year of his rule.
“Recently, the Central Party ordered the provincial offices to conduct an organized search for a place to erect Kim Jong Un’s solo ‘mosaic mural.’ The officers are searching for sites like revolutionary battlefields or places related to Kim Jong Un’s achievements,” a Daily NK source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on January 23.
“There are rumors that the mural project will begin in early February, but the location of the mural has not been confirmed yet. People are saying that the construction will begin in earnest after the Lunar New Year’s Day,” the source added.
Mosaic wall paintings in North Korea are large idolization monuments created by attaching colored glass, baked at 1,200 degrees Celsius, tiles, and processed natural stones to a wall. The murals usually feature Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, or the face of Kim Jong Il’s birth mother, Kim Jong Suk. A mural depicting Kim Jong Un has not previously been made.
Kim Jong Il ordered the extensive construction of mosaic wall paintings depicting Kim Il Sung together with himself across the nation following Kim Il Sung’s death (1994), and after his appointment as General Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party in 1997. But murals showing Kim Jong Il alone were only made after his death in 2011.
It appears the cult of personality surrounding Kim Jong Un is accelerating as increasing emphasis is made on his lineage within the so-called Paektu bloodline, which is used to legitimize the regime. “The regime is likely to aggressively promote Kim Jong Un’s greatness throughout the country after installing the mosaic mural in Pyongyang,” a source in Pyongyang said.
“It is possible that the regime will actively renovate the old revolutionary battlefields and historic sites, or excavate new sites,” the source added. This means that collective site visits by the authorities are also likely to occur in tandem.”
However, the regime has yet to make any public announcements and appears to be internally proceeding with the site search. Upon completion of the search, the regime will is likely to demand loyalty payments from citizens, emphasizing the importance of the project.
“Only the State Security Department has been given secret orders to ‘reinforce surveillance in preparation for possible enemy movements.’ It is expected that the regime will try to strengthen internal consolidation after completing preparations for the project,” he added.
Idolization of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung is widespread in many forms including wall mosaics across the country. The most representative of these is the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are preserved, with some estimates putting the cost of the shrine at 890 million USD.