ILDIKÓ KALAPÁCS Painter, Dancer, Sculptor, Video Artist, Teacher, Lecturer
Ildikó Kalapács life story spans two continents while her creative vision is born of a universal sense of the deepest rivers of thought and emotion. Couple this depth with her commitment to the expression of cultural, racial and class identity in the context of globalization and her artworks and projects literally breathe with her intense creative perceptions. It is my privilege to introduce you to the creative work of Linked in network member and International professional artist, Ildikó Kalapács!
Ildikó Kalapács was born in socialist Hungary on June 13, 1965, in Szeged city. She grew up during the Cold War era and comes from a background of staunch and sturdy family members. Her parents were among the first to get a high school degree in their families and they encouraged her as a youth to pursue whatever she wished to pursue. She received an excellent free education and began Folk Dancing classes at the age of eight years old. Of her dancing, Kalapács says, “I fell in love with it and I have been dancing since then. I believe it was the improvised aspect of folk dance which intrigued me the most.” With her older sister’s encouragement, she was accepted into an art high school at the age of fourteen years old. She came to the USA when she was twenty two years old. Attending the Eastern Washington University from 1988 till 1992, she received a BA degree in Studio Art on completion of her studies.
Kalapács willingness to speak out about social causes and to help others through her art making is evidenced in her art in public spaces. Most recently she conceived the Bearing Sculpture Project which was created in the small bronze sculpture version by Kalapács in 2008, with grant funding from the non-profit Puffin Foundation, Inc. The Bearing Project is a public sculpture and it is proposed to be cast life-size by the internationally known Walla Walla Foundry. When completed it will be placed in a prominent location in the greater Spokane area, in Washington, U.S.A. This larger completed sculpture will be a gift to the community from the donors of the Bearing Public Sculpture Project Fund.
Celebrating the strength of women across the world, this sculpture depicts a woman carrying a man which represents the burden that war places on the human spirit. Dispossessed women carry the weight of family and spousal responsibilities; bearing the physical and emotional load of the aftermath of war.
In her own words, Ildikó Kalapács expresses the essence of the Bearing Project by saying, “It is essential for a compassionate society to acknowledge women’s positive contributions to the healing of soldiers during and after wars, be it on the front lines or at home. It also demonstrates courage when one helps the returned soldiers to fight their next battle in peace time and to encourage them to accept a partnership in that.” The in-progress Bearing Public Sculpture Project can be viewed at the website http://thebearingproject.com/
A selection of other art in public spaces that Kalapács has created are; “Dream Catcher” at the Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest, in Spokane, Washington, U.S.A. where she created an almost wall size painting for them. She incorporated words into the work which are related to the purpose of their service and depicted young people of both genders. “Relief”, Spokane Hospice, Washington, U.S.A. was created for the Hospice of Spokane. She created a painting for the family contemplation room where grieving families go to reflect. It is a more traditional portrait of a young woman, with her hair down, but words are playfully incorporated into her locks. At the Kamiyamada Bunkakaikan, Computer Print Works in Collection, Kamiyamada, Japan she was invited by the Japanese for an annual Hungarian Japanese print exhibition where she exhibited computer printed versions and variations of some of her paintings.
Ildikó Kalapács states, “I investigate the overlaps of various identities and their ambiguities — cultural, personal, language, gender, image. And our identities play against the natural environment in the context of our global era. Everything is in more flux than ever due to our volatile global culture with its instant communication and mobility.
My images grab a moment in time, yielding glimpses of a perceived state of culture and identity. My motivation to explore identity is the fact that I have lived in two opposing cultures (Hungary and the USA). As an artist and dancer, I live in a well-connected international world.
I am exploring cultural, racial and class identity in the context of globalization using internal (inner) realities and through external images. It reflects my background as an artist and dancer exploring other cultures, but at the same time well grounded in my own Hungarian culture. I marry the universal and the culturally specific both of which are equally important in our era.”
These mixed medias offer a refreshing view of “woman” in her ordinary flesh. So much of our current commercialization of the female image hides the reality of the female aging process or even just what women’s bodies really look like! So quite aside from the other attributes of Kalapács art works, these art works give the viewer a much needed, rare and truthful view of women’s bodies.
In these mixed media works, the incorporated photographs are collected from the USA, Transylvania and Hungary proper. The photographs focus on cultural and personal identity and how people depict that identity through photographs. Kalapács is currently expanding her images to include other cultures in the context of globalization and social class.
Both the old photographs at the bottom of each art work and the loosely floating designs, that can be suggestive of an old fashioned fabric or translucent drapery, can depict for the viewer a sense of place and history. There is a certain and clear honesty in Kalapács perceptions and in her translation of her perceptions into these creations. This truth is immediately felt and known as we view her art work. It is not surprising then that her matured art language gives each artwork a new breath of life while honouring traditions and women from all walks of life..
Of her more than one hundred exhibitions, recent solo and group exhibitions include the Central European University, Soros Foundation, Budapest, Hungary, Lonely Canary Gallery, Spokane, Washington, U.S.A., Bank Left Gallery, Palouse, Washington, U.S.A., Invitational Travelling Group Show by Landfill Art Project, PA, U.S.A., Spokane Valley Art Auction Show, Spokane Valley, Washington, U.S.A. All Media Juried Show, Chase Gallery, Spokane Washington, U.S.A., “Pushing Against the Wall”, Two Wall Gallery, Vashon Island, Washington, U.S.A., Moses Lake Art Museum, One Year Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Washington, U.S.A., “Domestic Patterns,” Kolva Sullivan Gallery, Spokane Washington, U.S.A., “Feminist Exhibition”, Tacoma Community Collective, Tacoma Washington, “The Feminist Myth”, Arts West, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., Unitarian Universalist Church Gallery, Spokane, Washington, U.S.A., “Straddle,” Szeged, Hungary, First World Exhibition of Hun Am Artists, Cultural Center, Nyíregyháza, Hungary, Muhely Galéria, Szentendre, Hungary, Szalóky Galéria, Budapest, Hungary, Hungarian Culture Center, Castle District, Budapest, Hungary and the Tinman Art Works, Spokane Washington, U.S.A..
A true creative, Ildikó Kalapács is a painter, dancer, sculptor and video artist. She has taught and lectured in all of these disciplines both in the U.S.A. and in her birth country of Hungary. Kalapács says that both the visual arts and folk dance have contributed a tremendous amount to her life. She acknowledges the solitude that is required in the studio to create her art works and feels that by contrast dance has given her an opportunity to learn and work in a group as no other profession can. She feels that both these art forms have brought a balance to her life. And just beneath that balance is her life time of achievements and her finely honed creativity sensibility. This can only be evidence of a deep, innate root of courage within her; a voice that speaks out for social causes, a hand that does not falter and a heart that gives unconditionally.
Ildikó Kalapács many creative achievements really do exceed the boundaries of this article and I invite you to learn more about her by visiting;
**The Bearing Public Sculpture Project’s websites:
Or contact Ildikó Kalapács directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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International professional painter, author