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Hugwall at Sziget Festival: Everyone Needs a Hug

Fanni Kaszás 2019.08.14.

The Sziget Art Of Freedom project’s creators design the most amazing and unique buildings, statues, and installations, year after year. Hungary Today has checked out some of these amazing projects, such as the Wishing Tree, where festival-goers can write their secret dreams they would like to come true; and the Hugwall, designed by Anna Czikkely, Dóra Becker, Ákos Márk Hegedűs, and Dániel Orbán, which tells a little story about how we can transform a terrible day into a good one with a hug. We talked with the creators about the project, the process of creating the art piece, and the technical difficulties.

photo: Anna Czikkely

One of the artists who came up with the idea of the Hugwall, Anna Czikkely (Panni) talked in detail about the installation and how they became part of the Art Of Freedom project two years ago. Panni said that in previous years, they participated in another project with a larger team, then the four of them applied with the Hugwall to last year’s festival. The Art of Freedom organizers then called them back this year. The creators did everything: Panni and Dóri designed and painted the graphics, while their boyfriends helped piece the installation together.

photo: Anna Czikkely

We tried to make the installation as simple but also as innovative as possible: something that is easy to make but also effective, so that more people can identify and connect with it. The theme of this year’s Sziget is ‘Love Revolution’ and inclusion and diversity are very important messages of the festival, that’s what we tried to include in the graphics, which is probably why they called us back.

Panni said the story of the project is simple: the Hugwall shows a white girl and a boy of color, who both have a bad day, consoling one another with a hug.

We wanted to show how a simple hug can change a bad day, turn a bad mood into a good one.

The wall itself is made up of 20 pieces of pine bars placed in zigzags, painted with acrylic paint, and varnished to withstand harsh weather, rain, and dust. The interesting thing is that as people go past the installation, they see one image on one side and another on the other as the graphics change.

During the festival, Panni and the other creators checked the installation several times a day to see if everything was okay with it. She said that the request of the Art of Freedom Project was to:

make the installations absolutely “stupid-proof”, you know, making sure that not even the drunkest festival-goer can pin it down, take it home, or something like that. And of course we had to make sure it was safe to pass by it.

photo: Anna Czikkely

The venue of the Hugwall was designated by the festival, but the creators asked for it to be on a more busy road near the entrance this year. Panni said a lot of people posted about the wall on social media, so they got feedback:

Many people took photos and shared them on Instagram, some even tagged us, so we see that people like it. And last year, it was so popular that it has also been displayed in my home town, Kiskunmajsa.