To erect a statue today or to topple one is a creed; erecting a statue is the embodiment of a community and a culture, while to topple a statue is a proclamation of destruction, Péter Szilágyi, Deputy Secretary of State for National Policy of the Prime Minister’s Office, said on Sunday at the inauguration of the art house of the Sculpture Park in Chynadiieve (Beregszentmiklós, Ukraine).
“Destruction can be justified, as was the removal of the Stalin statue in 1956, but it can also be a provocation, as happened in Mukachevo (Munkács, Ukraine) almost a month ago,” the politician said, referring to the removal of the statue of the turul-bird at Mukachevo castle. The turul-bird is an ancient Hungarian symbol which is why its removal by Ukrainian forces caused such an uproar among the Hungarian community.
According to the politician, the newly inaugurated art house in Chynadiieve has a double role: it collects sculptures that bear the vital signs of Hungarian identity and offers space for the artistic branch of contemporary culture to find its way into all kinds of works.
One of the sculpture compositions at the Sculpture Park.
“The works created here will help the local Hungarians to perpetuate their value judgement and message for the present and posterity with universal value,” the Deputy Secretary of State said.
It is very important to keep this culture alive at a time when in many respects opportunities are shrinking, he said, adding that in such times, culture is the salvation of the Hungarian nation.
In connection with the war in Ukraine, Péter Szilágyi said that it is of the utmost importance for all Hungarians that peace be achieved in Ukraine as soon as possible. He added that
he hoped that Ukraine would restore the educational and linguistic rights of the Hungarian national minority in Transcarpathia in the new law on national minorities, which is currently being prepared, and that it would pay attention to the mutual respect and preservation of historical monuments.
“We will do our utmost to ensure the functioning of Hungarian organizations in Transcarpathia even in this war situation”, the politician stressed, highlighting in particular the Pro-Arte Mukachevo organization, which has been working since 2014 to ensure that the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia remains in its homeland.
Featured photo via MTI/Nemes János