The story of the newly inaugurated Hungarian Black Lives Matter Movement statue might be the shortest story of any statue in history. The story of the sculpture started in August 2020 and met a surprisingly rapid end just one day after its inauguration.
Back in January, The Guardian was talking about the sculpture of Péter Szalay who have applied for the competition to create monuments to show compassion with the Black Lives Matter Movement. The competition was put forth in August last year and a professional jury have chosen six creations to put them across the 9th district of Budapest.
The statue that has sparked controversy is a reworked Statue of Liberty kneeling and holding her right hand with a closed fist up to the sky. The statue was made using 3D printers and consisted of several larger chunks which sparkled in the colour of the rainbow also to draw attention to LGBTQ issues.
As we have written earlier, 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.
Unfortunately, the statue has faced quite a humiliating series of events. Many different groups with different worldview have attacked the statue both verbally and both physically. One of these groups was the Our Homeland Movement, which said the statue was
“an anti-European, anti-white, anti-heterosexual, and anti-Christian symbol”.
They erected a cross beside the statue then, on the same day as the inauguration, have managed to box in the statue with a couple of wood panels adding a sticker that read: “Blacks would not like the rainbow either”.
After this, Telex reported that a man in black clothing has climbed up on the box and poured white paint over the statue. The events have escalated quickly and after the police have managed to find the perpetrator, more police officers arrived at the scene and guarded the new landmark. According to some information, there were even armed soldiers around the statue’s place.
Even this could not alter the fate of the statue as by Friday morning, the statue was smashed, broken and pushed off of its plinth. According to Telex, the perpetrators were from the Légió Hungária, a far-right racist movement.
The news portal also asked the artist’s opinion about the fate of his artwork, to which he replied unexpectedly. Péter Szalay said that he was expecting that the statue would be demolished but he expected it to happen even sooner. Even though it lived through one night, technically the statue was demolished within less than 24 hours.
The creator also said that he did not want the statue, Prism as it was called, to be a propaganda. According to the work’s creator, the statue itself does not proclaim anything and that the fate of his creation is also part of the story of the art piece.
The mayor of the district also reacted to the questions of Telex and she said that she did not regret her decision and would erect another similar statue again any time, although she added that she did not expect people to destroy the art piece. Previously it was exhibited in a private gallery and no one had any problem with it, but when it was relocated to the streets, it got destroyed. The mayor of the district added that she was disappointed in people.
So, this was the tragic and eventful story of Hungary’s Black Lives Matter statue that also drove the attention to LGBTQ issues and have lived only a little bit longer than a Tisza mayfly. The good news is, that a collector from Szombathely have contacted the artist and would like to add the broken statue to the collection.
On another note, the creator Péter Szalay have created five similar pieces of art and recently sold one for HUF 2.7 million (€ 7,400) which is not that bad, considering he told the police that the statue was made from approximately HUF 40,000 (€ 110) worth of materials.
Source: Telex.hu, Daily News Hungary