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Students Showcase Artwork Based on Testimony in Annual Hungarian Exhibition

The art is black and white and full color; impressionistic and starkly realistic; hopeful for the future and filled with sorrow for the past. And it was all inspired by testimony from the Visual History Archive.

The Ludwig Museum of Modern Art in Budapest hosted 130 students and their parents and teachers on May 25 at an interactive exhibition of the artwork the students created for USC Shoah Foundation’s annual Hungarian art project.

The Hungarian art project, now in its fifth year, is organized by USC Shoah Foundation and its Hungarian partner, the Zachor Foundation. Hungarian middle-and high school students (and even those across the border in Romania and Serbia) are invited to watch clips of testimony from the Visual History Archive and create original artworks inspired by the clips. The artworks are then displayed at an exhibition and accompanying reception.

Fourteen works of the nearly 160 submitted this year were displayed in the hallway at the Ludwig Museum of Modern Art in Budapest at the exhibition on May 25. Each of the 14 artworks on display included a QR code so attendees could scan it and watch the clip on which the artwork was based on their smartphones.

In the museum’s auditorium, the attendees watched a slideshow of all the artworks submitted this year, and two students who chose to write poems read them aloud. They also watched the testimony clip that was used by the most students: Ágnes Kun discussing ghettoization procedures in Budapest. Seventy-nine students created artwork inspired by this clip.

Finally, the students did the IWitness Mini Lesson Antiszemitizmus/Iskolai konfliktusok (Antisemitism/School Bullying). The activity uses a Hungarian testimony clip to get students thinking about how they can prevent school bullying and intervene safely to help their classmates.

All students who participated in the project received a certificate and books to take home.

This year, the Commissioner of Educational Rights from the Hungarian Ministry of Education, Dr. Lajos Aáry-Tamás, and his deputy attended the exhibit. The Commissioner showed special interest in the program and would like to set up the exhibition in his office in the near future. 

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