“We believe in the unifying and healing power of art”

Edited by Anna Popper

The Hungarian University of Fine Arts (MKE), in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Türkiye and the Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centre in Budapest, organised a fundraising live art auction for charity under the patronage of Mr János Csák, Minister of Culture and Innovation, held on the 21st April 2023 in the Main Hall of MKE to help the victims of the devastating Turkish earthquake. For the first time in its 150-year history, the Hungarian University of Fine Arts asked its faculty and students to donate their works to charity.

MKE involved the entire university community in the donation initiative: students and teachers, including well-known artists who teach at MKE, such as József Szurcsik, Attila Auth, László Lelkes, Ágnes Rozmann, offered a total of 100 quality artworks of various art forms to go under the hammer at a real auction attended by art lovers, connoisseurs, experts, art collectors and people with generous willingness to help. Within the framework of this charity initiative, implemented with the support of the Sharity app – an online fundraising application, Hungary’s most innovative donation platform – it was possible to help even with smaller amounts.

In February 2023, Türkiye was hit by an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude, one of the deadliest in history. More than 50,000 people lost their lives in the natural disaster, 2 million people were left homeless, 230,000 buildings were damaged and 30,000 collapsed. 1.5 million people are currently living in tents and containers. The natural disaster in Türkiye affects 13.5 million people.

At the opening of the live art auction, Prof. Dr. István Erős, Rector of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts said: “The Yunus Emre Budapest Turkish Cultural Centre knocked on open doors when it approached us, since the university management decided almost immediately after the earthquake to organise a fundraiser to help the victims and their families. The university maintains active professional relations with the representatives of the Turkish fine arts, so we felt it more than our duty to help. In addition, last August I attended a Turkish Art Biennale, held in the same province where the earthquake later hit, so I was particularly shocked by the disaster. This donation not only provides an opportunity for charity, but also unites the university community and proves the healing power of art for the Hungarian art-loving, connoisseur and art-collecting public as well.”

In her speech, H.E. Mrs Gülşen Karanis Ekşioğlu, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye to Hungary emphasized: “In the period after the earthquake, our embassy also tried to heal the wounds of the injured, thus we launched a fundraising campaign in Hungary. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, who organised this special charity donation at the first word of our request for help. We believe in the unifying and healing power of art. We hope that donation drops collect like a vast ocean, bringing hope to survivors, contributing to their recovery and helping them get back to life.”

The students of the Liszt Ferenc University of Music performed a concert opening the event, and after the auction, the guests at the reception could taste the wines of the Takler winery. All of them contributed pro bono to the event to support the charity.

The Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Institute has 58 cultural centres around the world with a primary goal to promote Turkish culture and art. Besides teaching the Turkish language, their main task is to establish and develop cooperation with academic institutions in different countries. The Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Institute in Budapest has been operating since 2009 and offers the Hungarian audience a varied and rich program all year round.

The charity auction and online donation ended with great success. The total amount raised through the auction is more than HUF 6,181,000, which will go via the Embassy of Türkiye in Budapest to the Disaster and Emergency Management Bureau of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Türkiye, which coordinates local aid actions.

Source: MKE