Damian Yves Rohde shows his idea of tolerance on the Buddy Bears. For him, tolerance is fed by love. Love for fellow human beings, fellow citizens, friends and family. That is why he was inspired by the diversity of his environment for the portraits on the bears. The Pop Art style of the portraits is unmistakable. DYR mixes realistic-looking faces with gaudy heart sunglasses and other surprising elements. Construction cranes and features of Berlin can be seen in the background. Berlin - common centre of life and at the same time home of the artist. The portraits are powerful, thoughtful, mischievous and cheerful. They show the diversity of Berlin. They look at the viewer at eye level and invite an exchange. Everyone should find themselves in the portraits.
The exhibition was opened on 13 May 2022 under the patronage of Franziska Giffey: "For more than 20 years, the Buddy Bears have stood for Berlin and thus also for what makes our city: tolerance, diversity, freedom and peaceful coexistence. The Buddy Bears carry this message into our Berlin society and far beyond."
Social entrepreneur Zohre Esmaeli also found powerful words at the opening of the exhibition: "Our current global situation demands, more than ever before, that we should be there for each other in solidarity and at the same time strengthen our democratic values."
These values, the values of the exhibition, were picked up by singer mari.ama in her song "Oh please", which found its way into the ears of the audience for the first time on this occasion.
Klaus Herlitz: "The greatest gift that can be given to a people is freedom. Berlin is the city of freedom. And freedom begins with respect and tolerance. That's what the Buddy Bears stand for."
The Buddy Bears will continue to make Wittenbergplatz more colourful until November 2022 and enjoy great popularity. There is a gap in the middle between the Buddy Bears. Every day, the bears get human company. Feet step into the gap and outstretched arms reach out to the bears' paws. And there they stand: Hand in hand for tolerance.
Our special thanks goes to our partners, without whom the exhibition would not have been possible: PSD Bank, Street Art Berlin, Wall, Haberling, Bärlin Team and Berliner Morgenpost.
More background information about the exhibition you can also find here:
Meet our artist Damian Yves Rhode in this video:
Impressions from visitors to the exhibition you can find here.