This weekend, Columbus mourned the loss of local artist Alfred Tibor. The world renowned sculptor, who was a unique and inspirational artist, passed away surrounded by the comfort of his family at the age of 97.
Born in Hungary in 1920, Alfred Tibor was coming of age at a tumultuous time in Europe. A self-taught gymnast, Tibor managed to qualify for the 1936 Olympics however he was kicked off of the Hungarian team due to his Jewish religion.
In 1940, Tibor was enslaved by the Hungarian Army and eventually captured by the Soviet Army where he was kept as a prisoner of war for 6 years. Finally, in 1947, Alfred was set free. After leaving the camp, he learned that out of his nearly 40 immediate family members, he and his brother Andre were the only ones to survive the Holocaust.
Alfred married and had two children, remaining in Hungary for 10 years. But after the Hungarian Revolution, the Tibor’s packed their belongings and made their way to America. In 1958, they arrived in America and settled in Miami, Florida. It would still be a few years before Tibor called Columbus home, but he was determined to be an artist in the United States.
After taking a job in Columbus, Alfred relocated in 1973. Tibor’s first sculpture was unveiled in 1974 and his collection has grown immensely since then. He has hundreds of works in collections throughout the United States and the world. Here in the capital city, you can find many of his works around town, including the Ohio Governors Residence.
One of Tibor’s most remarkable works is outside of Agudas Achim in Bexley, where he was a member. Entitled “Remember”, the sculpture sits in front of a granite map depicting the labor and prison camps scattered throughout Europe during World War II.
Tibor lived an extraordinary life. He overcame what were seemingly insurmountable odds and then chose to share his experiences with the world through his art. On his website, a statement by Tibor reads, “As a international known sculptor, I find I am often asked who or what most influenced my style and subject selection. The true answer is I am self-taught in this regard from my first-hand experience during World War II and being witness to its aftermath. There is no greater instructor than life.”
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