Afghanistan becomes part of the exhibition United Buddy Bears – The Minis

United Buddy Bear Mini Afghanistan by Rias Nazary

The United Buddy Bears The Minis exhibition will be on display at Berlin's “Gardens of the World” (Gärten der Welt) starting May 26, 2022. For the first time, the 1m tall Buddy Bear designed by Rias Nazary represents the country of Afghanistan.

In the spring of 2022, Nazary designed the little bear with great attention to detail and a view of the cultural richness of the country where his family roots originate.

He explains the many motifs depicted on his Afghan bear with the following words (you find detailled photos of the Bear in our UBB-Minis Show).

Left arm: Scientists

These women represent an era in Central Asia from the sixties, where they had almost the same rights as men in many aspects of daily life, such as access to higher education and also participation in politics. Can you even imagine women wore miniskirts during that time, long before veiling in complete blue Burqas? It was an aspiring, tolerant and western oriented society. There is also a tulip between those scientists, which represents the national flower.

Right arm: Rock Music

When I visited Kabul in 2010, new alternative rock bands were established, even metal bands. As explained above, the society was about to become a western oriented society on the one hand, but on the other hand Central Asian countries can be strongly past oriented, when it comes to music for example. One among them was the band “Kabul Dreams'', which is unusual compared to more traditional oriented mainstream pop music in Afghanistan. I liked the idea that meanwhile modern genres reached Afghanistan.

Head: Tattoo

An ancient face tattoo from the pashtun ethnic group, which is worn by women.

Torso: Roots

From left to right, there is one of the oldest buddha statues in its initial condition, a typical boy from a village with a goat in his arms and a harmonium and a tabla as traditional music instruments. There are three of the statues, located in the north region of Afghanistan Bamyan and they were built around the 6th century. The shown buddha statue shown is almost 55 meter high. The boy wears traditional clothings, which is worn all over the country, even today. Above him you can see kites running, which are a popular hobby for the young and the old. Right above the kites you see white doves. Legend has it that if a dove with a speck of color flies to the mosque in Mazâr-e-Sharif and stays, it too will turn white as snow, because of the sanctity of the mosque. And the music instruments are imported from India and England, which had a great impact on Afghanistan's music development.

Left leg: Food

The beige cookie on the left area is called Kulch-e-âb-e-dandân (best translation so far: “mouth water cookie”). It mainly consists of flour, egg, sugar, cardamom, baking powder and pistachio, which is served at parties. Next to it you see a pinkish beverage, which is called Qaymâq-châi and mainly consists of green tea, bicarbonate of soda, milk, sugar and cardamom, like in Kulch-e-âb-e-dandân. When I visit my parents, it is freshly prepared on weekend breakfasts. Cardamom is a broadly applicable ingredient in the Afghan kitchen, which can be also used beside sweet dishes, for rice and spicy qurmas. Cardamom is the elixir of life for probably a lot of Afghan households. Same goes for colder days with pomegranate. No matter what, you will always g​​et a bowl of fresh plucked pomegranates at my parents’ house.

Right leg: Textile

This is a typical textile pattern, which is applied on clothes for men and women, but also on carpets.

Backside: Ornaments

Since the main religion in Afghanistan prohibits paintings of holy faces, artists in oriental countries focused more on squiggly and zestful ornaments.