The Sculpture of Lajos Kossuth
One of Ottawa’s Hungarian inspired public sculptures is Kossuth’s bust standing guard on the front lawn of the Hungarian Embassy.
Its history harkens back to the summer of 1997, when His Excellency, Károly Gedai, Hungary’s ambassador at the time, consulted with Mr. Lajos Györffy, former president of the Ottawa Hungarian Community Centre, regarding a common initiative to worthily commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1848-49 Hungarian Revolution, leaving behind something of lasting value. To this effect, on behalf of the Republic, His Excellency has offered to the community the work of Mr. Tibor Füzy, a 47 cm tall bust of Lajos Kossuth, made in bronze. Financing the pedestal and finding a worthy place for the artwork rested on the collective shoulders of the community. The project has been immediately embraced and fund-raising began in the earnest. In matters of its placement the aspirations of the community have not been met by the local administrators of the time, therefore, it has been resolved to display it, very visibly, on the front lawn of the Embassy. Mr. Györffy guided to success the fund-raising efforts for the high stone pedestal, with donations ranging from 1 to 500 dollars, with Hungarian organizations from across Canada contributing, as well. In his humble way, Mr. Györffy was exceptionally thankful to those who offered a dollar only, because as he put it: “…those were the poorest and they gave the most”.
The official unveiling took place March the 15, 1998, with the participation of several dignitaries, community members, and a noted historian, as special envoy of the Hungarian Republic. Kossuth’s bust stands tall in front of the Embassy ever since and serves as a venue for all the collective remembrances and solemn occasions dedicated to the freedom fighters of our nation.