The Budapest Photo Festival, held for the first time in 2017 and held annually since then, announced a call to artists for a photography exhibition in 2023 joint to the Petőfi 200 Memorial Year.

The call for entries was as follows:

’The poetry and the life of Sándor Petőfi (1823-1849) are considered one of the most important pillars of Hungarian literature and culture; the image formed of him keeps occupying people for two hundred years now. However there is only one authentic picture of him that shows a realistic young man, unlike the romanticist, idealized representation of the period. … Starting from this daguerreotype, we are trying to find the contemporary image of Petőfi.

What image of him lives with us of the poet and his oeuvre after two hundred years of his birth? How do we approach the emblematic figure of our national culture nowadays? How would he look like nowadays or a portrait of him? How would he spend his days and where and how would the National Song be written?

Alongside these questions, we intend to show the Petőfi-image that lives with us – showing how the poet’s personality and oeuvre are connected to contemporary Hungarian photography, revealing the connections between text and image.’

After being selected by the jury, the photos from the entries submitted to the call were presented at an exhibition at the Random Gallery (1114 Budapest, Béla Bartók Road 33.) as part of the program of the Budapest Photo Festival held between 6-26 April 2023.

I am honoured that I could be one of the artists at the Petőfi 200 exhibition with a photo made by me!

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Our son and me next to my exhibited photo at the opening of the Petőfi 200 exhibition at the Random Gallery in Budapest, 6 April 2023 | Photo: Irén Jánosi

The caption I associated with my exhibited photo while submitting my entry was the following:

’Hereby I walk as "wannabe" king and fastidious
My loose shirt wide floating spontaneous
My hut slide to cover my right eye,
To show not lift that hut for any kind of anybody

Repeatedly returning to Tavern of Booguts
Drinking and eating as my wish spending
Good enough is my coin-credit in that place
Therefore pay I fully not to harm my decency

The county guards known by my gray horse
Same as I do with my force,
When they approach my stallion with loud neighing ask to sit on
Once I am on the back, just come on your majesties’

Hungarian poet, Sándor Petőfi: Famous town on the deep plains is Kecskemét, written in regional dialect of riverland Tisza-Duna, Debrecen town, between middle of february and 1 january 1844 – translated by Árpád Tóth

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Kecskemét | HU | 5 August 2022

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My wife and our son next to exhibited photo at the opening of the Petőfi 200 exhibition at the Random Gallery in Budapest, 6 April 2023

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