Hungary: Outrage over “Black Lives Matter” art installation
by Sabine Hannakampf
In the Hungarian capital of Budapest, a temporary 3D-printed art installation is heating up right-wing conservatives.
The artwork – a kneeling Statue of Liberty raising her right hand into a fist and holding a plaque with the inscription “Black Lives Matter” – is only about one metre high and consists of twelve parts produced in a 3-D printing process. The “paraphrase of the Statue of Liberty”, as the artist Péter Szalay calls the installation, is held together by magnets.
On the background to his artwork, Péter Szalay told Deutsche Welle: “The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has a huge impact on our global society, of which I am a part. Picking up on that was my artistic intention.” With the colours of the rainbow, he wanted to draw attention to the curtailment of human rights of the LGBTIQ* community in Hungary, the artist said.
The artist is relaxed about the risk of the sculpture being destroyed: “I don’t condemn those who want to destroy my sculpture. If it happens, I will document it and consider it part of my work,” Szalay said in an interview with The Guardian.
Budapest Black Lives Matter artwork sparks rightwing backlash https://t.co/aeNDm1TpM6
— The Guardian (@guardian) January 5, 2021
Violent and radical left?
Representatives of the right-wing populist government, however, consider this movement violent and radical left-wing. Orbán’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyás even accused the initiators of the art action of racism. “Black Lives Matter” is a despotic movement that wants to destroy everything white, Christian and conservative and rewrite history. Therefore, according to Gulyás, Black Lives Matter is a racist movement:
“Black Lives Matter is basically a racist movement. The racist is not the person who opposes a BLM statue, but the person who erects one.”
Pro-government media is helping to hype the issue. As a result, the myth of a ‘monument to gay blacks’ is circulating among the population. Elsewhere, commentators on pro-government TV shows have compared the art installation to the erection of a monument to Adolf Hitler.
District mayor is threatened
Krisztina Baranyi, who is supported by the opposition, is under massive criticism, not only because the art tender was financed by public money. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, the borough’s mayor explained that she was used to groundless criticism from the pro-government media, but now she was being called names. She was even threatened with rape and acid attacks.
“Yet,” says Baranyi, “all we wanted was to give young Hungarian artists a chance to show their art in the public space”.
- BLM_Skulptur_Ungarn: By atothdavid
- BLM_Skulptur_Ungarn_2: By atothdavid
A ridiculous amount of coffee was consumed in the process of building this project. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep us going!
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