Yesterday, a rainbow-coloured statue in honour of the Black Lives Matter movement was inaugurated in Budapest. According to the plans, it would have stayed in the ninth district of the Hungarian capital for two weeks. However, the statue could not stand there for as long.
It was revealed earlier that a work related to the BLM movement would be exhibited in Budapest. This was opposed by many, including the Our Homeland Movement, who said the statue was “an anti-European, anti-white, anti-heterosexual, and anti-Christian symbol”. However, the statue had been made, and it was inaugurated yesterday.
It was planned that the rainbow-coloured statue would have been displayed until April 14th. However, in the time since the statue was erected,
the statue was fenced up, then doused with paint, and demolished and smashed on Friday morning.
Péter Szalay, the creator of the statue, said that he did not want to create political propaganda, but the fact that many people reacted this way is very telling. In August 2020, the 9th district of Budapest announced a competition for independent public works. The professional jury selected six works that were to be exhibited at different points in the district. However, only the work of Péter Szalay had such an adventurous journey.
In addition to the Our Homeland Movement, Zsolt Bayer, a Fidesz insider, said earlier that the statue would be demolished immediately after it was erected. Although Bayer had nothing to do with it, members of the Legion Hungaria far-right organisation tore down the statue. A video of the sculpture was also made, which was later deleted. It was added to the video: “Yesterday, it was set up by the left district government, and we demolished it this morning, true to our previous promises. Of course, the police acted immediately, caught Béla Incze, a member of the leadership of our Movement, who demolished the statue.”
The barely one-metre statue was hit by 3 attacks in one day.
According to Péter Szalay, the fate of the statue is also symbolic. The creator reckoned that the statue would not last for a day. He added that there was nothing ideological to say about the work itself. “It’s not a thing that speaks against either side. There’s no claim in it that Black Lives Matter or this is pro-homosexual. And there’s no message that the BLM is bad,” said Szalay.
The statue was previously exhibited in a private gallery, where no one had a problem with the work. “Even yesterday, I thought that the statue would not be harmed. I thought that the citizens of Budapest were mature enough to watch a public statue and not hurt it. Therefore, I am a little disappointed now,” said Krisztina Baranyi, the mayor of the district, to telex.hu.
There are no plans to replace the statue.
However, the owner of a collection from Szombathely has already applied for the broken work, and the statue can probably take a break. At least what is left of it.