A show that travels the world set foot in Buenos Aires: the United Buddy Bears and their message of world unity and peace.
On a sunny day in March, 2009, we visited the traditional square in downtown Buenos Aires. Among men and women dressed in suits who were out for a fast lunch in the shade of the trees in San Martín Square, we found a traveling art show that has been all round the world since 2002 and was now in Argentina.
The Buddy Bears in front of the people who came along to watch the paintings and see what country they were from.
“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.”
That is the show’s motto and it seemed to be already becoming true at this always unusually quiet square surrounded by elegant buildings. Among the bears, in front of them, reading the signs or buying a souvenir, people from all over the world were sharing a space of cultural exchange.
These two-meter-tall bears raise their hands and seem to hold them in a round that surrounds the square and, symbolically, the whole world. Each of them represents one of the countries acknowledged by the United Nations and they transmit a message of tolerance and peace.
This show started in Berlin in 2002. Originally, the bear image used to be the symbol of the German capital, but the United Nations took this icon and the fiberglass sculpture base format and gave it a new meaning.
One artist from each of the countries acknowledged by the United Nations was summoned so that they would represent their culture and tradition through art. After a long season by the Branderburg Gate, the bears were auctioned but the show had been so successful that new bears were made and the world tour began.
When it reached Buenos Aires
, the show had already been around for seven years and raised 1,560,000 Euros for the UNICEF programs from bear auctions and souvenirs.
After four continents and fifteen exhibitions, the bears settled down in Buenos Aires from March 3 thru April 15, 2009 in order to start their tour around the fifth continent.
“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding”, this phrase may be read on Einstein’s bear and it summarizes the show’s message.
For every country the show visits, a new bear is created to represent it (besides the one that is already in the show and travels all round the world). Once the show is over, this bear is auctioned for the benefit of UNICEF.
After April 15, the Argentinian bear was auctioned in Buenos Aires and so the show continued touring around the world with its message of tolerance and communication. To learn more about the show and its destinations, visit the website: