"I paint the colourful Gypsies from my dreams" - Gabor Varadi - painter
- Gábor has been painting since the 1980s. landscapes, portraits, and dream-like images of many people.
- In 1994, he received a six-month scholarship in Iceland. In the mid-nineties, after 24 years, he left the Ózd metallurgy because of the creation.
- He had been actively participating in the cultural life of his home town, Ózd; he founded and led an art school in 1998 until its closure in 2008.
- In 2012, he received the national Csokonai award for his lifelong contribution to Roma fine art.
- His works can be found in the Roma Parliament's permanent exhibition, the Hungarian Institute of Culture, and the Museum of Ethnography collections.
Let me tell you a story to show my point:
- I showed him the award; he was looking at it from left and right; it was clear he could not understand it; then do you know what he said? That he would offer his friendship to me. – So that is how a national art award is valued in Ózd, especially if you are a Gypsy.' - As Gabor told me this tale, he was laughing. I first met him back in the nineties, when as a teenager, I had the privilege to exhibit some of my paintings alongside his more mature works. However, we have not met since we could instantly connect.’
'My body and soul were suffering, but nothing could stop my desire to paint.' He smiled proudly with the face of a survivor, and I felt he had to survive everything.
As I instructed him to pose to my camera, he noted my confidence and laughed at how our roles had changed.
- The Ózd Steelworks was one of the most critical steel production plants and metal factories in the industrial region of Northern Hungary. It also served as the largest employer of the local Gypsy population. Since the liquidation of the factory in 1992, the town's population has drastically decreased. With the factory's closure, many people moved away, hoping to make a better living elsewhere. Only older people and the Gypsy population stayed in the town. The majority of them are now unemployed.
Words and photographs by Bela Varadi for TT Vision