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Bijou (Gábor Dilinkó)

Bijou (Gábor Dilinkó) was born in Hungary in 1929 in a gipsy family. He was nicknamed Bijou by his grandfather. His father was a wandering gypsy horse-dealer, while his mother descended from blacksmith and musician families. He was only eight years old when his parents divorced. Due to his mother’s sickness, he had to move to a state-care institution, whence he was sent to farmer families to work. Despite all the difficulties, he could finish primary school in Budapest, where his ability to draw well was discovered at an early age. After 1945, his mother took him back to stay with her and her family. His uncle taught him the blacksmith’s craft. In 1947, his mother died and he had to do military service the following year. Between 1949 and 1956, he was employed as a leather factory worker. He got involved in the 1956 revolution as he was looking for his girlfriend at Corvin lane, where they both fought against the Soviet invasion of Hungary. His girlfriend was shot and Dilinkó was taken captive with serious wounds and was sentenced to death, but his sentence was later changed to twelve years in prison. He was finally released in 1966, but due to his involvement in the fights, he did not get a permanent job until 1975. He started to paint regularly after a bus accident in 1975 at the age of 46. As a result of the tortures he endured in jail, the small brush fell from his hand, which led him to paint with his fingertips. It is only after the fall of the Soviet Union that his 1956 activities were acknowledged and awarded in 1991.

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