Bloomsday will be a two-day contemporary art festival in Szombathely, W Hungary on June 16 and 17 this year, celebrating the centenary of the first book-length publication of James Joyce's iconic work Ulysses.
Soma Horváth, deputy mayor of Szombathely, who is also responsible for culture, said at a Bloomsday press conference on Tuesday that the event will be a "treasure island" of contemporary art, with part of the city's revamped museum district being renamed the Leopold Bloom Walk for the duration of the festival.
The festival will open on Friday June 16 with the presentation of this year's Bloom Prize at the statue of James Joyce in Szombathely's main square, with the participation of Ronan Gargan, the Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to Hungary.
At the press conference, Soma Horváth welcomed Eszter Szabó, last year's winner of the Leopold Bloom Award, and Irish artist Aideen Barry, who will create a mural in the center of Szombathely as an artistic adaptation of the third and fourth chapters of Ulysses, which will also be presented on the opening day of Bloomsday.
The director of the local Savaria Museum, Andrea Csapláros said that the exhibition Slow Animals, featuring 43 artists, will open on June 16 at the Szombathely Gallery. The works on show will focus on plants and animals, for example, they will look for answers to the questions "what it feels like to be a plant" and how "slow animals" move.
In addition to the permanent exhibitions at the Iseum, the Savaria Underground exhibition will continue to be on display, while the Schrammel Museum will host an exhibition on the ground floor of works by students from the ELTE Savaria University Center, also inspired by Ulysses.
According to Szabolcs Prieger, coordinator of the major events in Szombathely, this year's events will include the traditional Bloom Day powdered sugar stamping, beer tapping, concerts in the evening and a literary history lecture on Joyce's work.
Bloomsday is celebrated worldwide on June 16 to mark the day on which James Joyce's world-famous novel Ulysses was set in Dublin on June 16, 1904.
One of the protagonists of the story, Leopold Bloom (Lipót Virág), was born in Szombathely, according to the novel, and research suggests that Joyce's character is a friend of the same name from Vas County (which Szombathely is the seat of). Bloom names the house at 41 Fő tér (‘Main Square’) as his birthplace. Today, a statue of James Joyce "steps out" from the wall of the building, astonishing passers-by.
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