Analysing visual representations in the North Korean Refugee Movement for Social Change and Justice


  • Pearl Jones


Art can play an important role in the communication and transfer of knowledge by creating powerful emotions and providing a voice to the otherwise voiceless. My ComDev Project Work, on which this article is based, focuses on the plight of North Korean refugees and how they are communicating their fight for freedom and personal experience through paintings and film. A mixed-analysis approach is used to examine three selected examples of visual representations created by the North Korean diaspora in order to attain a deep understanding of how the specific texts are produced and consumed The examination of  the intended and received messages  illustrates how visual representations can be used strategically by social movements in the area of C4D to reinforce or create a collective identity, and aid in movement participation by enhancing solidarity and self-assurance while creating motivation for collective action.

Keywords: art, social movements, North Korea, refugees

Author Biography

Pearl Jones

Pearl Jones was born in Seoul, South Korea. She and her family moved to her father’s home country of Canada during the political unrest that gripped South Korea during the mid-1980s. She met her husband while teaching in Asia, and moved to Sweden five years ago to start a family of her own. She has been following human rights issues in North Korea for many years and was an editor for Database Center for North Korean Human Rights. She holds a Master in Communication for Development from Malmö University, Sweden and hopes to continue her work with North Korea. E-mail: