Ambassador: Cancel provocative Roma art exhibit

History

Marika Schmeidt’s “Thoughts Are Free” exhibition in Linz has raised the ire of a few Hungarians, among them the country’s ambassador to Austria, Vince Szalay-Bobrovniczky. Szalay-Bobrovniczky labelled the exhibition which is themed on Europe’s Roma population “a cheap provocation, openly racist and hostile against Hungary, and in violation of European values and the dignity of minorities, especially the Roma.”

Included among the poster-style artworks is a mock advertisement for “Natural Smoked Gypsy Cooked Salami” (pictured) emblazoned with an image of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Jobbik party logo.

Austria-based Der Standard reports that hundreds of Hungarian citizens have sent emails of protest to the Linz city government over the exhibit which many are describing with many are describing with Szalay-Bobrovniczky's dubious “racist” claim.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky himself appealed to Mayor Franz Dobuschs and President Heinz Fischer to have the exhibit removed from Linz City Hall, explaining to Hungarian media that the “socialist Linz city administration” would likely deny him on the “discrimination-filled” work due to the artist’s political and ideological ties.

Indeed, Dobuschs stated before the Tuesday night opening that “Criticism and escalation is a legitimate method in a democracy. We therefore stand by the artist, who will receive a public forum at City Hall.”

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