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Bears of the world unite

Kusum Kanojia , April 5, 2012, DHNS 19:31 IST

Visit the Central Park in Connaught Place and find some special guests welcoming you.
The amphitheatre in the park is surrounded by two-meter high bear sculptures standing ‘hand in hand’, promoting tolerance and understanding between different nations, their cultures and religions.

innovative A Polar Bear named after Albert Einstein.On its tour around the world, the buddy bears exhibition symbolises the future vision of a peaceful world. Each buddy bear shows the individual design created by different artists on behalf of their countries.

Titled ‘Germany and India: Infinite Opportunities 2011-2012’ the bears have been brought to India as part of celebrations of 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Germany. The exhibition was inaugurated by Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and governing mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit on March 27. The buddy bears standing with their hands in laughing Buddha pose, have been placed in such a manner that they appear as though they are holding each other’s hands.

The concept began in Berlin in 2002 and since 2004, the buddy bears have visited 23 cities including Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Cairo, Sydney, Sofia, Vienna, Warsaw, Montevideo, Astana and Istanbul among others. One easily gets a quick tour of 143 nations by looking at these buddy bears, carry as they do glimpses of their nation’s art, life, landscapes and culture on their bodies.

The Indian buddy bear, designed by Sanjay Sikder, is symbolic of Lord Krishna with a flute. The bear’s arms carry images of tribals performing traditional dance and music. The buddy bears of United States of America and Barbados catch the eyeballs for their unique design and beautiful landscape respectively. The one from the USA has been created by Bill C Ray and is a replica of the Statue of Liberty while Barbados’ buddy bear shows a woman carrying her child in her arms on seashore with the sun setting in the backdrop.

Being Berlin’s extremly popular heraldic animal, bear was chosen for this concept. However, those visiting the exhibition have plenty of bears to choose from as their favourites. Jeremie Levesque and Marie Catherine, Canadian nationals had seen the buddy bears in Berlin but they found their placement better in Delhi. “I saw them in 2006 in Berlin. The exhibition was organised at a place close to a university. But the placement is much better here. It is central and spacious,” said Jeremie.

Their personal favourite was Turkey’s buddy bear as they could relate to the design carved on it. “We found Turkey’s buddy bear most beautiful and interesting. It is intricate and aesthetically also good. We have been to Turkey and understand the motifs on it,” said Marie.

The exhibition also features a special bear sculpture in grey and white. It is a polar bear which carries a large image of Albert Einstein and his quote ‘Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding’.

The exhibition is a shortcut to learning about world’s nations and their culture, history and heritage at a glance and is on till May 11. Don’t miss it.

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