Buddy Bears, the symbol of friendship
Berlin’s colorful life-size Buddy Bears have been on tour around the world as Germany’s ambassadors of goodwill since 2002. Recently, in late September, three Buddy Bears have found their home in Vietnam. Do you want to know about the story of Buddy Bears?
First Buddy Bears: Born in Berlin
Buddy Bears is the name given to painted, life-size fiberglass bear sculptures developed by Klaus and Eva Herlitz, in cooperation with sculptor Roman Strobl.
The story of the Buddy Bears started with an artistic event in Berlin in 2001. Inspired by the idea of bringing art in the streets of a metropolis like the cow parade in Zurich and New York.
“United Buddy Bears 2003” with the German Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate in the background.
The raised arms of the standing Buddy Bears are aligned on the dissemination of friendliness and optimism, and thus mediate a positive mood.
First unveiled at the city’s famous department store KaDaWe, artists initially painted 350 bears to be distributed to public spaces. By this point, the bears came in four different positions: the original bear with arms overhead, one on all fours, one standing with its hands at its side, and one doing a headstand.
The Buddy Bear has become an unofficial ambassador for Germany and is a symbol of Berlin since 2001.
The original installation in 2002 involved the Buddy Bears standing in their trademark circle around Brandenburg Gate, and over 1.5 million people came to see it, including famous celebrities like Jackie Chan.
United Buddy Bears go around the world
In addition to the Classic Buddy Bears presented far beyond Berlin’s city limits, the circle of United Buddy Bears came into being in 2002. The Exhibition travel around the world promoting "peace, international understanding and tolerance among the nations, cultures and religions of this world".
Berlin Bears in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo: Leandro Neumann Cluffo)
"We have to get to know each other better ...
... it makes us understand one another better,
trust each other more, and live together more peacefully."
Under this motto, the United Buddy Bears promote living together in peace and harmony on their global tour. Around 140 Buddy Bears (each 2 m tall) represent as many countries recognised by the United Nations.
Each Buddy Bear shows the inpidual design created by different artists on behalf of their native countries. The international artists’ different styles are joined together in one work of art, spreading zest for life. The perse design of the Buddy Bears – always typical for the respective countries – enables the visitors to experience a journey around the globe.
The Buddy Bears stand together “hand in hand”, symbolising the future vision of a peaceful world. Each bear stands for the people of the different countries and their culture, yet not for political systems.
Bear activities and aid for children in need have formed an inseparable unit. To date, € 2,290,000 (August 2018) have been raised through donations and auctions in aid of UNICEF and local children’s relief organisations..
Buddy Bears come to Vietnam
Recently, Deutsches Haus Ho Chi Minh City and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ho Chi Minh City has become the new home of these three friendship-ambassadors. While Deutsches Haus Ho Chi Minh City is a symbol of the longstanding cultural and economic cooperation between Germany and Vietnam, the three Buddy Bears should be the image of profound friendship between people of the two countries.
Vietnamese artists and a Buddy Bear in HCMC. (source: German Embassy in Hanoi)
Within the framework of an artist contest in the first half of 2018, many Vietnamese artists have sent their painting designs for the Buddy Bears with their artistic interpretation in regards to German-Vietnamese relations. The 10-member jury including artists, representatives of Deutsches Haus Ho Chi Minh City, the German Consulate General and the Art Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, have selected three outstanding competition entries.
In early August 2018, three artists have embarked on painting the Buddy Bears.
On September 28, the three Buddy Bears were officially presented to the public for the first time, together with their artists.
After the introduction cermony, each Buddy Bear was handed over to their new home.
The Buddy Bears, painted by Nguyen Duy Nhut has his new residence in the Consulate General of Germany, while the other two painted Buddy Bears, by Tran Thuy Linh and Viet Thi Kim Quyen, stay in the lobby area of Deutsches Haus Ho Chi Minh City./.
( VNF )