February 26, 2018

Hwang Hyun-san Resigns as Chairman of Arts Council Korea

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—Citing health concerns, Hwang Hyun-san has stepped down as chairman of the Arts Council Korea (ARKO), bringing to an end what was meant to be a three-year term he started last November, according to ArtAsiaPacific. Hwang, a prominent literary critic, was one of thousands of cultural figures in South Korea blacklistedduring the presidency of now-impeached Park Geun-hye, who was arrested last March. His predecessor, Park Myung-jin, stepped down last May over her role in excluding artists and cultural figures from receiving government support. Hwang vowed to investigate the discrimination. “This blacklist is a fire in our own backyard, which we must resolve to move on. . . . I aim to restore stability at the Arts Council Korea and not let this matter be buried or remain unresolved,” he announced upon joining the council, which is the nation’s largest state-funded arts organization. With an annual budget of around $183 million, ARKO aims to make art more accessible to Korean citizens through grants and programs.

“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,” said ARKO officials. It is unclear whether ARKO was aware of Hwang’s illness before his appointment, and the council is currently waiting for the results of his treatment before finalizing his departure.

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