HAVANA._ A pack of bears have taken over San Francisco de Asis Plaza in Havana, each one painted by an artist from the country they represent; just like Siboney, a purebred Cuban forest creature with whom domestic and foreign visitors have their souvenir photo taken.

A pack of bears have taken over San Francisco de Asis Plaza in Havana, each one painted by an artist from the country they represent; just like Siboney, a purebred Cuban forest creature with whom domestic and foreign visitors have their souvenir photo taken.Cuban artist Nancy Torres told The Havana Reporter that her acrylic and collage creation is a form of tribute to the indigenous Cuban Indian community who welcomed Christopher Columbus in 1492.

She said that her national representation in the exhibit, “which I made lovingly by hand and which incorporates typical Cuban symbols such as tobacco and our national flag”, is due to remain in place until the month of March.

Torres forms part of the German United Buddy Bears project which creates life-sized bears that travel the world to promote international unity.

On this occasion they carry a message of peace, tolerance and understanding between peoples, cultures and religions. She added that there can be no peace on earth without tolerance, which is why we oversee the mounting of the exhibit which opened in Berlin, back in 2002. The artist believes that “tolerance requires acceptance of others just as they are, regardless of their ideology”.

A pack of bears have taken over San Francisco de Asis Plaza in Havana, each one painted by an artist from the country they represent; just like Siboney, a purebred Cuban forest creature with whom domestic and foreign visitors have their souvenir photo taken.As part of the exhibit, an auction of a miniature version of the Cuban bear will be held in the square where the bears are on show.

Torres explained that the purpose of the auction is to raise funds for the benefit of Cuban children. The artist expressed a deeper satisfaction for the appreciation of her creation by the Cuban public in the context of peace and tolerance between peoples.

WELL DESERVED RECOGNITION

Eva Herlitz, creator of the United Buddy Bears Exhibit, said that she was very happy that the Cuban artist was on board.

Since their first outing in Germany, the bears have visited Vienna, Cairo, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Paris, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Tokyo, Sydney, Warsaw, Rio de Janeiro and other cities.

Herlitz confirmed that during this world tour, more than 30 million people had been charmed by the Cuban bear.

A pack of bears have taken over San Francisco de Asis Plaza in Havana, each one painted by an artist from the country they represent; just like Siboney, a purebred Cuban forest creature with whom domestic and foreign visitors have their souvenir photo taken.She emphasized that “it is true to say that it is one of the most admired”, a reality also reflected by viewers in Cuba.

Eusebio Leal, Havana City´s Historian, considers the event beautifully symbolic, not only regarding its desired universal accord but specifically regarding the friendship between both nations.

He said that the creatures, invigorated with the colors through which each artist views their world, express here a vision of openness and tolerance.

Leal commented that although tolerance is very important, he believed in something superior; a wanting not to be just tolerated but to be respected.

And so, he said, this is a beautiful invitation to come from all over the world to a Havana where bears proclaim better times.

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