The statue of Ryu Gwan-sun, which was planned to be installed on Wednesday at Seodaemun Independence Park in Seoul to mark the 100th anniversary of the patriot’s martyrdom, has been postponed indefinitely. “We don’t have enough budget as the government cannot provide support,” said a member of the Ryu Gwan-sun memorial association. “We’d like to hold an unveiling ceremony this year by exploring other options.”
The Ryu Gwan-sun memorial association has notified the Seodaemun Ward Office of its plan to temporarily delay the installation of the statue, which was meant to be completed by the end of this month with an unveiling ceremony to take place on Wednesday.
May 20 is the date when Ryu was first incarcerated at Seodaemun Prison 101 years ago. She had been tortured by Japanese officials here until she passed away on September 28, 1920. She led independence demonstrations in the prison and never wavered in terms of her determination for the independence of Korea.
The 3.2-meter high statue has been made by Professor Kim Hang-shin and Kim Dae-gil of Chonnam National University College of Arts. The production work was first led by senior sculptor Kim Hang-shin but later taken over by his former student Kim Dae-gil after his death. Other professors and students of the College of Arts also joined in efforts.
The statue has been completed and transferred to Seoul. However, the original date of an unveiling ceremony was not kept due to the lack of budget. “The project has come to a temporary halt as our request for the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs to support 30 percent of the production costs has been denied,” said a member of the Ryu Gwan-sun memorial association. It has been reported that the ministry cannot provide support as its budget plan for the year has been finalized. The association also asked the metropolitan governments of Seoul and Cheonan – the latter of which being the hometown of Ryu – but has not received any clear answer.
“We will continue to ask for support from relevant committees of the National Assembly and local governments as the project is meant to mark the 100th anniversary of Ryu Gwan-sun’s martyrdom and pay a tribute to the sacrifice she had made,” said Ryu Jeong-woo, the president of the Ryu Gwan-sun memorial associationist.
Seng-Hyun Kang firstname.lastname@example.org