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"That was a personal commission," says renowned North Korean sculptor Ro Ik Hwa, pointing to a bust of A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani scientist the U.S. denounced as the world's greatest nuclear proliferator.Ro, 77, is among the greatest living practitioners of such works, having been a lead artist behind some of the most iconic of Pyongyang's monuments.Khan's vanity purchase is dwarfed by the multimillion-dollar projects Mansudae has worked on overseas – including the 50-meter-tall African Renaissance Monument, completed in 2010 outside the Senegalese capital Dakar.Pier Luigi Cecioni has operated as Mansudae's official sales representative in the West for the past decade, selling Mansudae artists' paintings through his English-language website.Close to 4,000 people work at Mansudae – a vast complex the size of a small village with hundreds of studios housed inside cavernous concrete buildings.The studios employ 700 artists, ranked in a clear hierarchy.
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