Kicking off this year’s Színes Város Festival celebrating street art in Budapest, a young Portuguese artist recently enhanced a wall by Kőleves kert with a vivid mural. The new multi-story painting by Akacorleone is a colorfully abstract mural to revamp the almost 100-square-meter firewall overlooking Kazinczy Street’s most happening stretch – and this is only the first of many new murals that will soon be enlivening buildings across Budapest.

Based on the world of Hungarian folk tales, but also bearing the signature style elements of the artist, the painting depicts the story of Jankó Holló, a poor young fellow who sets out on a journey of discovery. The other notable characters in the tale that help Jankó out during his many adventures – such as the ant, the raven, the fish, and some whistles – can all be seen on the wall, arranged around the main figure of the composition. The overlapping shapes and the cluttered layout represent a sea of adventures, while the raven perched at the top of the picture symbolizes the main character reaching his destination. The vivid, cheerful colors exude unwavering hope and endurance.

Born in 1985, Akacorleone is a painting graduate at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon. After accepting the invitation of Színes Város, he came to Budapest with the help of the Portuguese Camőes Institute to showcase his street-art capabilities.

Over the past few years, the Portuguese capital is an emerging showcase for a wide range of outdoor artworks, with standards continually increasing in terms of quality with each piece completed. This is primarily due to the fact that a few years ago, Lisbon undertook the mission to back such initiatives in an effort to promote local public art in varied settings, founding a committee that is meant to facilitate the implementation of each project. The method has since been adopted by a number of other Portuguese towns.

The previous mural that adorned the wall by the popular outdoor hangout, which was created by a Romanian artist, seemed to be highly controversial. Many people had a hard time warming to the painting, including some Kőleves employees, for whom it was a familiar background that their eyes wandered to every day, so the Színes Város Festival organizers opted for repainting the surface – a move everyone appears to have benefited from, judging by the end result.

The firewall-painting projects are a prominent feature of the festival, which takes place annually for the past couple of years – this year’s festival will conclude on September 23. The artists invited to showcase their talent at previous festivals were mainly occupied with beautifying walls in District VII, but this year those wandering the streets of Budapest will have the pleasure of getting to explore new outdoor art pieces at a total of ten locations in Pest, and on the Buda side too.

Hungarikums – typical Hungarian objects and phenomena – are the main theme of most artworks, while some of the other pieces feature characteristic Hungarian scenes in the interpretation of artists from Hungary and abroad. The patron of the festival is Budapest Mayor István Tarlós, with the bulk of the necessary funds being provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Hungarian National Tourist Office (Magyar Turizmus Zrt.).