The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, was a widespread revolt against Soviet communist influence and control in Hungary. The revolt was brutally suppressed by Soviet troops. About 25-50,000 Hungarians and 7,000 Soviet troops were killed, thousands more were wounded, and nearly a quarter million left the country as refugees. More than 14,000 Hungarians arrived in Australia.
Through this special series, the exhibition investigates the constant duality of the Then (1956) & Now (2009), and There (Hungary) & Here (Australia). On one hand, it is about the survivors and active participants' vivid memories of the events remembered in the Australian backdrop. On the other hand, it is the reaction of their children and grandchildren born in Australia after the revolution.
The dream-like, surreal images filled with symbolism tell us about the young Australian generation's understanding and unique reaction to that distant historic event, experienced only through personal stories, memorabilia and local commemoration festivities.
Obviously there are generational differences in how the Revolution is remembered, but there is one common theme, - the outmost respect for the Hungarian Freedom Fighters and for their ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to bring democracy and self determination to the Hungarian nation.
The historical and political significance of the Hungarian revolution of 1956 is still actively debated; as expressed in one of the paintings, with many 'blank pages' yet to be written.
"Those Hungarian students and workers and women and fighting children have done more to close the future of Communism than armies of diplomats. They have exposed the brutal hypocrisy of Communism… they have torn its mask off.… We owe them pride and praise. For their defeat has been itself a triumph."
- A rchibald MacLeish
Exhibition opening night
23 October 2009 - 8 pm
Venue: Bocskai Center 121-123 St Georges Road North Fitzroy Victoria 3068 Australia
Open: 23 October - 6 November