Bears in Havana: Another Step for Tolerance

Photo Feature: Elio Delgado Valdes

Text: Elvira Pardo Cruz

HAVANA TIMES – To express through art, the desire for a better world where peace, respect and tolerance prevails, is the proposal of the traveling exhibition United Buddy Bears whose stage today is in Havana, in one of his oldest unique public spaces: the San Francisco de Asis Plaza, a place full of memories of cultural and historical events.

The project was devised by the couple Eva and Klaus Herlitz in 2002, and the work is done in collaboration with the Austrian sculptor Roman Strobl. Each bear represents a state recognized by the United Nations.

At the center of the square, stands a silver bear with the image of Albert Einstein, whose genius reached beyond the borders of applied science, reflected his pacifist ideal, “Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.”

The iconic Buddy Bears are the result of the creation of artists from 150 different countries. Their design is a reference of the culture of every people.

Cuban artist Nancy Torres drew Siboney, the Cuban bear, in tribute to the first inhabitants of the island; the presence of the Cuban flag and the prestigious tobacco, all elements that identify being Cuban in the wheel of tolerance.

A replica of the Cuban sculpture was auctioned in Austria, at a price of 12,000 euros, raised to fund UNICEF, the international organization sponsoring the world tour of the exhibition. The auctioning of the sculptures will help nourish its budget for the benefit of children around the globe.

Historical coincidences or by good luck, the sculptures comes to Cuba at a good time, when unity is needed, understanding among humans, here and there, for peaceful coexistence among nations and freedom of religion or political affiliations.

The presence of this colorful and representative exhibition is a privilege for Cubans and tourists to enjoy and appropriate the implicit message. It will remain until March in the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis.

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