12.05.2004 / Presse
Bears act as peace ambassadors in HK exhibition
By Melissa Hyak, Channel NewsAsia's Hong Kong correspondent
HONG KONG: There's a new exhibition in Hong Kong.
Held on Hong Kong island's Victoria Park, it's an art show that mixes the message of peace with play.
The exhibition opens officially on Saturday.
Standing hand in hand in a ring at the exhibition are 120 fibre glass grizzlies, each representing a different country in the United Nations.
The bears are two metres tall, and each weighs at least 50 kilogrammes.
Together, they bear the best of news - the message of love, peace, tolerance, solidarity and understanding, told through the universal language of art.
Said Norbet Hujer, project manager of the United Buddy Bears: "Every bear like this one, tells a story about its country, tells the story about its artist, and they stand there, and say 'we are one world'."
In a way, the exhibition itself is a living testament of that ideal world.
These bears are dressed with the colours and caricatures unique to each land they represent, by artists nominated and sponsored by their respective countries.
The cost of each naked bear is almost US$1,900, but the message they bring is priceless.
The idea to get the bears as peace ambassadors is the brainchild of German couple, Dr Klaus Herlitz and his wife Eva.
They got their inspiration from America, looking at the painted cows in New York City's Cow Parade.
But how the bears land up in Hong Kong is the effort of one of Hong Kong's larger-than-life public figures - Jackie Chan.
Eva Herlitz said: "Jackie Chan was filming '80 Days Around the World' in Berlin. When he drove to the city, he saw a lot of painted bears, he loved the bears very much. He loved the idea that was behind the circle, that this circle would promote love and peace. So, when he came back to Hong Kong, he thought it might be a good idea to present the circle to Hong Kong as well."
The United Buddy Bears will be on display in Hong Kong, their first Asian stop, until June 27. - CNA