Shin Hak-Chul is a biggest name of Minjung art, a South Korean political and populist art movement. At the beginning of his career as an artist, Shin worked as a member of the avant-garde artist group 'AG'. Since having his first solo exhibition in Seoul Museum in 1982, he has been showing paintings with realistic portrayals of laborers and peasants people called Minjung.
He was a "public artist" on the barricade, history painter, peasant painter, and labor movement artist who engaged firmly in the turmoil of people's movements for democratization from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, painting joys, sorrows, and hopes of the people and inspiring the future perspective of people's history. In his early career, Shin used collage technique to show the reality of daily life and visualized the fetishism of mass consumption society. After 1980s, he produced paintings using photomontages and photorealism techniques. This approach made him able to visualize the history as a concrete reality rather than an idea in a closer distance.
Shin has participated in many solo and group exhibitions, including one at Arko Art Center. Shin has received a number of prestigious awards throughout his career, including the 1st Art Journalist Award, the 1st Minjok Art Prize, and the 16th Keumho Art Prize. He received the most votes from critics in the survey done by Monthly Art magazine and was named ‘the best and representative artist of Korea’s 1980s.' This poll result shows his importance and influence in Korean contemporary art world. Shin was undergone guilty verdict by the national security act and received annulment of a sentence by the UN Human Rights Council due to his painting The History of Modern Korea-Rice Planting. The artist is acclaimed as an artist who left his footsteps in the Korean contemporary art history by standing firm in his views and beliefs.