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Bear hugs from Berlin

A circle of 143 bear sculptures representing different countries are in town to promote peace and harmony.

Published: July 4, 2012 (Issue # 1716)



  • Russias bear (4th from left) is decorated with a traditional khokhloma pattern and is popular with visitors.
    Photo: ALEXANDER BELENKY / SPT

  • Each bear represents a different country. Cubas bear smokes a cigar.
    Photo: ALEXANDER BELENKY / SPT

The world-touring United Buddy Bears are celebrating their 25th exhibition and 10th anniversary in St. Petersburg. One hundred and forty-three brightly painted two-meter tall bear figures from all over the world stand hand in hand in the Alexandrovsky Garden, promoting living together in peace and harmony.

The free outdoor exhibit is open in the city 24 hours a day through Aug. 5.

Buddy Bears first hit the streets in 2001. Project initiators Eva and Dr. Klaus Herlitz wanted art to be on display in city streets and decided to start a unique art project in Berlin.

The positive reaction we got from visitors gave us the idea to use Buddy Bears popularity to provide more targeted food for thought to promote mutual understanding between different people. In 2002 this thought developed into the idea of the United Buddy Bears, said Michael Stefanescu, managing director of Buddy Bear Berlin.

Each fibreglass bear represents a member state of the United Nations. All of the bears are standing together hand in hand, forming a large circle of equals.

Artists from all over the world were invited to realize the project. Each bear was created in a different style to express the unique character of the artists native countries, allowing visitors to take a journey around the world while visiting the exhibition.

Together Buddy Bears represent a complete work of art, spreading an enormous zest for life, said Stefanescu.

The bears promote tolerance and mutual understanding between different nations and cultures. None of the bears represent a government or current political system. They represent people and their cultures. The arrangement of the different countries symbolizes the vision of a world that will be peaceful in the future, he said.

There are also four special bears that present ideas necessary for people to co-exist peacefully. Two golden bears holding hands show that nobody can live on their own and that how people behave toward one another has consequences. The first Golden Rule bear conveys the message that the more friendly a person is to other people, the more friendliness they are likely to receive in return. The words Try to treat everyone the way you want to be treated are written on it.

The second Global Ethic bear illustrates that there can be no peace among nations without peace among religions. The bear represents the basic commandments from the Declaration toward a Global Ethic and is covered in quotes from different religions that all mean the same thing In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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