Image: Ri Hyang Yon, dancer, during a practice session for the Arirang Games in the car park of the May Day Stadium. Pyongyang. 2014    © Nick Danziger/*NB Pictures for the British Council


North Korea - or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as it is known locally - is one of the most isolated countries in the world. Few foreigners are able to visit it and few North Koreans are able to travel abroad. Our knowledge of this singular state is therefore particularly limited, with debate often centering on the idea of North Korea as an abstract geopolitical entity – as a land of incomprehensible systems and beliefs.

But North Korea is a real country of 23 million inhabitants. This exhibition sets out to provide a view of the people and the country that we hope will inform future discussion. It shows people doing ordinary things – students walking down a street; a man waiting at a tram stop; women bathing in the sea – as well as less ordinary sights, such as a much-decorated hero of the Korean War travelling to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in his Mercedes; dancers rehearsing in the car park before a performance at the Arirang Games; and a glimpse into the routines of workers on a collective farm.

The photographs were taken by Nick Danziger who, together with the writer Rory MacLean, travelled to North Korea in August 2013 under the auspices of the British Council, and with the support of the Central Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, DPRK. They visited the cities of Pyongyang, Nampo, Wonsan and Sariwon, each day taken up with meeting people and encouraging them to talk about their lives, so that a picture emerges of individuals whose smallest pleasures are not all that different from people elsewhere, however strange or limiting their circumstances may appear to us.

Nick Danziger and the Team returned from the DPRK assignment with a collection of 7,000 photographic  images. The Above The Line Exhibition at the Hong Kong Arts Centre will showcase a selection of the collection.  And, Nick Danziger and Andrea Rose will be in Hong Kong for the Opening of the Exhibition and also to share and discuss their experience.

Exhibition Details
Date: 9 - 28 April 2015
Venue: Experimental Gallery, 3/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Opening Hours: 10.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Remarks: Free of charge. 

Guided tour and post-tour talk by Nick Danziger
Date 9 April 2015 (Thu)
Venue: 3/F Experimental Gallery, Hong Kong Arts Centre
Please click here to register   

Exhibition guided tours
Date:18 April 2015 (Sat), 25 April 2015 (Sat) 
Time:  2pm, 4pm (1 hour per session)
Registration / Enquiry:


Photographer biography

Nick Danziger is a photographer and filmmaker. Awards for his work include an honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society (2007), the World Press Photo first prize in the single portrait category (2004) and the Royal Geographical Society's Ness Award (2000), while his film about Afghanistan, War Lives & Videotape, won the Prix Italia in 1991 for best television documentary. His photographs are held In museum collections, including the National Portrait Gallery, London; Théatre de la Photographie et de l'Image, Nice, the Morgan Library and Museum, New York; National Media Museum, Bradford; and Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow.

Curator biography

Andrea Rose OBE, CMG, was a former Director of Visual Arts and Strategic Programmes at the British Council. She is the UK representative on the UNESCO Cultural Commission, UK Commissioner for the Venice Biennale and in 2011 was awarded the Russian State Medal of International Co-operation. Andrea Rose has a Masters Degree in History of Art from the University of Minnesota and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Canterbury. She is the author and editor of a number of publications, including Gagarin in Britain (2011) and Above The Line (2014).

External links