Who would do such a thing? Peer round a post on Jászai Mari tér by the Pest end of Margaret Bridge and you’ll discover cartoon hero Lisa Simpson all tied up and looking somewhat anxious without her trademark saxophone. There’s not enough a ransom note. The installation seems to be the work of a mysterious urban artist also responsible for a gun-toting chipmunk and the revered TV goat, Mekk Elek, at prominent spots around town.
Unusual installations have been popping up all around Budapest, some with a touch of social comment, others just plain fun. In 2018, a chipmunk (a meerkat? a squirrel?) was found prostrate on the pavement, gun in hand, with a chalked line around it as if it were a crime scene. Placed alongside a statue of Columbo, the inference was clear – can the TV detective find the clue?
Another animal figure, a clumsy jack-of-no-trades goat, Mekk Elek, appeared on Széll Kálmán tér, perhaps humorous criticism of the quality of craftsmanship going into the renovation of this busy Buda square.
Each is thought to be the work of Ukrainian artist Mihajlo Kolodko, the Budapest Banksy, who leaves provocative figures around the city. The latest, Lisa, may be a comment about environmental activism being silenced, it may just be a homage to the most revered family in cartoon history. Who knows? And who knows where he will strike next?