Born in Seosan in Chungcheong Province in 1954, Lee Jong-gu graduated middle school and high school in Incheon. He graduated from Chungang University’s Paintings department. He has actively worked as a representative Minjung artist following the flow of social revolutions in the 1980s.
Started from the group exhibition in 1984, the artist showed the portraits of farmers on the sack of rice harvested under government control. He has consistently worked as a realism artist depicting the reality of rural villages for 30 years. Lee’s realism criticizes the slow fall of agricultural communities due to rapid expansion of capitalistic society. He critically acknowledges marginalized rural communities after the industrialization and he served as member of a society, a painter and an intellect, paintings the irrationalities of the reality today. His art extends from portraits of farmers to ecological perspective praising the life on earth.
The artist participated in many domestic exhibitions that include The Fifteen Years of Minjung Art, Korean Art 97, Declaration for Peace(2004), all curated by National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and numerous group exhibitions internationally. He awarded Gana Art Award and Woohyun Art Award. He was chosen as the Artist of the Year by National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2005. His works are in major collections that include National Museum of Modern and Contemporary art, Seoul Museum of Art, Daejeon Museum on Art, Jeonbuk Province Art Museum and Sungkok Art Museum. He currently works as a professor in Paintings department at Chungang University.