Feb 23 2018

Hwang Hyun-san Steps Down As Chairman Of Arts Council Korea

by Julee WJ Chung

HWANG HYUN-SAN has stepped down from his position as chairman of the Arts Council Korea due to health reasons. Image via MBC Prime.

On February 21, Hwang Hyun-san withdrew from his position as chairman of the Arts Council Korea (ARKO) due to health reasons, cutting short what was meant to be a three-year term, which he began in November 2017.

ARKO officials announced: “Hwang, who had initially undergone surgery to treat pancreatic cancer, was recently diagnosed with liver cancer due to the spread of malignant cells, and is currently undergoing treatment […] He handed in his resignation as it will be difficult to fulfil his role as chairman at this time.” ARKO did not clarify whether they were aware of Hwang’s illness before his appointment. The council and its governing body, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, are waiting for the results of Hwang’s treatment before proceeding to finalize his resignation.

Hwang was one of 9,500 culture figures who were blacklisted during the presidency of Park Geun-hye. Hwang’s predecessor, Park Myung-jin, had resigned on May 8, 2017, over her role in excluding the blackballed artists and culture figures from government support. The scandal added a layer of notoriety to ex-president Park’s corruption case, which led to her impeachment trial in December 2016. After the announcement of his appointment, Hwang had declared that uncovering the blacklist will be a priority under his chairmanship.

ARKO is the nation’s largest state-funded arts organization. The chairperson oversees the administration of an annual budget of over KRW 200 billion (USD 183.45 million).

Julee WJ Chung is the assistant editor of ArtAsiaPacific.

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