Kálai studied painting and media at the Pedagogical College "Juhász Gyula". In addition to his work as a visual artist, he organises workshops for adults and disadvantaged children. He is also intensively involved with the medium of film. Already in his first film works, he dryly and spontaneously documented his Romungro environment.

"The fact that painting is a basic need that must be satisfied is both a curse and a blessing. Whether it gives me pleasure ? Not particularly, because it makes you an outsider. Byprodukt (by-product, by-product, but also scrap, translator's note) is the title of my exhibition because the focus is on the process of painting itself. I have learned that the essence of painting lies in the act of painting itself. The painting as a result of the creative process is a kind of by-product. I painted in front of visitors to my exhibition to illustrate the importance of the act of painting when the artist is trying to shut out his consciousness. Even though this is basically impossible in front of so many people. I have been painting since I was a child. When I was about 13, I started to think of myself as an artist, and I knew that I would really be an artist, a painter. When I was a child in Erdökertes, a small village inHungary, we spent a lot of time in the forest, wandering around, painting and drawing. We imagined ourselves living in the Renaissance, we designed equestrian statuettes, modelled plaster and created oil paintings; all things that seemed strange to our surroundings, to the neighbours. For example, we once tied one of our acquaintances to a life-size cross so that we could paint the crucifixion after nature. We were so impressed by Renaissance art that we adopted its themes - in this case Jesus on the cross. But then the grandmother of our model suddenly appeared, she screamed terribly and accused us of blasphemy. This is just one of many stories. With my paintings I refer to my immediate surroundings; I share information about my milieu, my world. I paint mainly those who are close to me, family members, people I know. There are two paintings in this exhibition that are so personal and intimate that I struggled with myself for a long time whether to show them or not."


Henrik Kállai. Films

A kis cigány