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Artistic Buddy Bears to be unveiled tomorrow at Victoria Park

The United Buddy Bears Exhibition, a major public art event to be held in Hong Kong for the first time, will be officially opened at 5.30pm tomorrow (May 15) at the Central Lawn of Victoria Park.

The exhibition will be held from 8am to 10pm daily from May 16 to June 27 at the Central Lawn of Victoria Park. Admission is free. Hand and hand and shoulder to shoulder, 120 Buddy Bears painted by artists from all over the world will form a huge circle with a diameter of 65 metres, delivering the message of love, peace and solidarity.

The exhibition also aims to foster public art. "Displaying the bears at Victoria Park, a place Hong Kong people are so familiar with, not only beautifies the environment, but also shows the public how art can be incorporated into daily life," a Leisure and Cultural Services Department spokesman said.

Members of the public are welcome to appreciate these unique works of art. They can take photos with them and learn the artists' design concepts on the information panels. Each Buddy Bear tells a story and mirrors different cultures.

Twelve Buddy Bears designed by local artists will also be displayed. These feature both Eastern and Western cultures and arts.

Renowned local designer Mr Kan Tai-keung named his Buddy Bear "Colour and Ink". "The right side of the bear is made up of changing colours, reflecting the artistic style of the West. Its left side is composed of water and ink, demonstrating the Chinese painting style of liberal interpretation. These two cultures become one in contrasting with each other," he explained.

Actress Miss Gigi Leung, who is fond of artistic creation, said, "My Buddy Bear is named 'A Kid's World'. I used the techniques of Jackson Pallock to paint my Buddy Bear because they allow me to express and to create freely. Similarly, I wish children can also show their talent and imagination freely without any limitation."

To encourage public participation, a series of fringe activities will be held from 3.30pm to 6.30pm at the showground tomorrow. They include African drum music, Bouncy Castle, Bear Colouring, and handicrafts workshops. Souvenirs will be put on sale at the same time.

In addition to the appreciation of the masterpieces from different countries, the public can participate in a variety of fringe activities and competitions, including Facing Painting, Cloth Bears Workshop, Buddy Bears Painting Workshop, Buddy Bear Story Telling Corner, Bear Puppets Workshop, Clay Bears Workshop, Bear-Go-Round Workshop, Buddy Bears Design Competition and Story Book Design Competition.

The fringe activities will be held from 2pm to 6pm every Sunday during the show period at the lawn. They are excellent opportunities for young people to develop their creativity. The activities are free of charge except Buddy Bears Design Competition and Story Book Design Competition. Some activities require prior enrolment. For details, please refer to the Fringe Activities leaflets.

Special guided tour services will be provided for primary and secondary schools as well as elderly centres from Monday to Friday. Appointed personnel will give a brief introduction about the Buddy Bears. Sports activities such as fancy rope-skipping, shuttlecock-kicking game, dance and physical exercises will also be organised. Interested schools and elderly centres are welcome to participate in the activities on the date and time they prefer. Prior enrolment is required. For details, please call 2309 1027.

The idea of Buddy Bears came from a Germany couple, Dr Klaus Herlitz and his wife Eva. They wanted to create a symbol to represent understanding and tolerance among nations. As they thought bears were universally loved and seen as friendly and cuddly, they came up with the idea of creating Buddy Bears.

The idea of bringing the Buddy Bears to Hong Kong was initiated by international superstar Mr Jackie Chan, who is also the founder of the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation.

When Mr Chan was filming in Germany last year, he was fascinated by the sight of the enchanting sculptures on the streets. When he learnt that the Buddy Bears carried the message of global peace and tolerance, he proposed bringing the exhibition to Hong Kong and he raised the matter with the Hong Kong Government.

The United Buddy Bears Exhibition is organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Home Affairs Department, the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation and Buddy Bear Berlin and assisted by the Tourism Commission, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Hong Kong.

The exhibition will also help raise funds for the Hong Kong Committee for the United Nations Children's Fund, the Community Chest of Hong Kong and the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation.

For further information and enquiries, please call 2414 5555 or visit the LCSD website: .

Ends/Friday, May 14, 2004
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