Saturday, 29 December 2012

Weekend Reflections: Post-Christmas Pruning


“Better make good use of a rare sunny day… Who knows if we get another chance to see our reflections again this side of New Year!”

for Weekend Reflections

Monday, 24 December 2012

Monday 24 December 2012 – Christmas Eve


index   Palestine

This is not the same Palestine bear as on the BB homepage, so I’m not sure exactly what the artist was thinking. But I like the general symbolism of doors and windows, and so I find this bear a suitable candidate for the last “window” of the Advent Calendar…


A white flag with horizontal blue bands close to the top and bottom, and a blue star of David in the middle.Israel

… is not represented in the Mini Bears exhibition. * But, since this is corner of the world both shared and debated, loved and fought over… here is a photo of an Israelian bear as well, borrowed from the Buddy Bears home page:



Map of Israel

Map from February 2012


Luke 2:1-20

New International Version (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 ♫Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.♫

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


This is the last “window” of the Advent Calendar.
I hope you have enjoyed the Buddy Bears.

If you did not find your country represented in my selection,
you can look it up at the United Buddy Bears homepage


♥ ♥ ♥

I wish you all a peaceful holiday,
open doors and open hearts

♥ ♥ ♥



Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sunday 23 December – Mmmore Bears

Three bears from countries starting with the letter M, which I realized I knew very little or nothing about.

With the first one I can claim the excuse that the country did not go by that name back when I first learned world geography…


Myanmar (Burma)

The name Burma has been in use in English since the time of British colonial rule. In 1989 the military government officially changed the English translations of many colonial-era names; among these changes was the alteration of the name of the country to "Myanmar". The renaming remains a contested issue.

Location of  Burma  (green)in ASEAN  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Artist:  Ko Ko Latt  (pseudonym: Lu Htun)

The front presents symbolic figures – an integral part of the world of faith of Myanmar.

The top position is reserved for the one who discovered The Four Noble Truths all by him – Buddha. His portrait is flanked by two Brahmas, bright creatures in the top regions of the mythological mountain Meru – free of worldly desires and close to the entrance to Nirvana.

On the right and on the left on the Buddha’s arms we can see Thagyamin, King of Ghosts and ruler of the sky of Tavatimsa, beneath the domains of the Brahmas. He is the Myanmar version of the Indian God Sakka, protector of Buddhism. Thagyamin is immensely popular and is very often called upon.

Beneath the Buddha is the image of Galoun, King of Birds. He is the Myanmar version of the Sun Eagle, Vedisch Garuda.

The bear’s belly is decorated with the powerful and dynamic figure of Bilu, who appears in many fairy tales and oral traditions. He is mostly described as rough and sinister, also characterised as a cannibal - but at times he can also be helpful and good.

On the thighs, two chinthe are looking out – mythological lions often placed in front of pagodas sentinels, symbolising courage, power and bravery.

Beneath them, one Naga each – the mythological snake that is bound to the earth, ruler of the water and Galoun’s opponent - finishes the roundel. Once, when the future Buddha was deeply lost in meditation, one Naga protected him from a raging storm.

They are all considered to be protectors – to be addressed to prevent the Buddhas and human beings from all types of misfortune.


With the next country I find no excuse for not having a clue where in the world to place it. Checking my old school atlas, it turns out the country had the same name and borders back in the 1960s…



The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa.

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art Mali was once the site of one of the richest and largest empires in the world. Mali was also one of the earliest nations to make a declaration of human rights.

Mali is a constitutional democracy governed by the Constitution of 12 January 1992, amended in 1999. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. Mali's key industry is agriculture. Cotton is the country's largest crop export. Eighty percent of Malian workers are employed in agriculture while fifteen percent work in the service sector.

Though Mali's literature is less famous than its music, Mali has always been one of Africa's liveliest intellectual centers. Mali's literary tradition is passed mainly by word of mouth, with reciting or singing histories and stories known by heart.

The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of the country of Mali. The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. Dogon country is now one of Mali's major tourist attractions.


Artist: Oumar Kamara

The bear reminds us of the culture of the "Dogon". The Dogon have been accepted as part of the UNESCO World National Heritage because of their strong sense of awareness of their own tradition and spirituality. The Dogon have fostered their culture over many centuries - some graves that were found in caves date back to the 11th century. A central aspect of the Dogon culture is the Toguna, the central theme for the design of my bear. The Toguna is the centre of every Dogon village, as its town hall - built deliberately low - it prevents the angry flaring up of arguments during the men's discussions.

On the bear's arms I've painted the Kanaga watching the world. He was the first "Dogon".

The signs on the bear's side symbolise fertility, resurrection, humanity, etc.

On its feet you can see the "Cauris" which were used as exchange goods in the old days and here also stand for understanding between the people.

Oumar Kamara


Mozambique I knew by name, but was I able to place it correctly on the map? Nooo..



Between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from farther north and west. Swahili, and later also Arab, commercial ports existed along the coasts until the arrival of Europeans. The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonized by Portugal in 1505. Mozambique became independent in 1975.

Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country's economy is based largely on agriculture, but with industry, mainly food and beverages, chemical manufacturing, aluminium and petroleum production, is growing fast. The country's tourism sector is also growing.


Artist: Livio de Morais

It’s not the same bear as on the BB homepage but I think the themes are similar.

“This is meant to be a homage to the famous sculptures of the Makonde (tribe from the North of Mozambique). ---

My message: Life, peace, tolerance and freedom.

The passing rites: Birth, initiation, fertility and life hereafter. These aspects dominate the design of my bear in the shape of the woman-mother and wearing her native mask. Mother Makonde has her eyes closed (spirituality) and is pregnant. --- On her back the child can rest. This reminds of children's rights and human rights.

The dominant colour is ochre: Symbol of life on earth.”

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Saturday 22 December – Stylish Bears


Centered red circle on a white rectangle.Japan

The national flag of Japan is a white rectangular flag with a large red disk (representing the sun) in the center.


Artist: Suiko Shimon

”In my dreams I am young again and you look at me while the autumnal wind is grazing through the soft hair of your temples. (Mori Ôgai)”



Dominikanska Republiken

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation after Cuba.


Artist: Amado Melo

“The light, the colours, and the refined, intense moves of this bear symbolise the sensitive and intense emotional state of the Dominican people.

The observers experience a wave of excitement, spirituality and happiness of the Dominican people.

Amado Melo”




 File:Coat of arms of Kazakhstan.svg


Kazakhstan is a country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is the world's largest landlocked country; its territory is larger than Western Europe. .


Artist: Layla Mahat

“Strange people travel across this land with their homes and their cattle. Caravans with strangers and their wares come by. The most impassable roads in the world. The wildest rivers in the world. The steppe filled with stones, with characters engraved thousands of years ago. Birds gliding through the air spreading their wings for hours. The horses gallop faster than the wind here going without water for days on end. This is the land of the great ghosts – talking to me and to the wind. Should I miss that? How could I not be here? - Leyla Mahat”





Friday, 21 December 2012

Friday 21 December – Animal Bears



Location of  Poland  (dark green)– in Europe  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Artist: Ela Wozniewska

“The bear sculpture painted by me stand for the richness of Polish myths, legends and symbols. With contrasting colours and forms reflecting the spectre of Polish folk history I created a "landscape" inviting the observer to linger in a romantic, playful way.”




Artist: Pierre F. Patricio

“The Philippine Eagle - The King of Heavens

In the forests of Davao, Philippines, every single little creature fears the world's largest eagle. Like the American eagle, the Philippines eagle is a national symbol of the Philippines' rich and tropical heritage. No wonder that this monkey-eating eagle will soon to be extinct. On the list of countries with the highest number of endangered birds, the Philippines ranks sixth. Under global threat of extinction are 75 Philippine birds, which 59 of these are not found elsewhere in the planet. The Philippine eagle belongs to one of these. It's estimated population is only about 19. It can grow 91 cm tall and its wings 200 cm wide. This eagle can weigh 6,5 kg and can live up to sixty years. This giant raptor eats small monkeys, especially the world's smallest monkey (Tarsier, 10 cm). A pair of eagles can have a territory of 100 The reasons for the decline of this creature is the deforestation in the country. According to theories, the entire forest kingdom of this developing nation might be wiped out in 2050. The economy of the Philippines depends on light industry and the demand of wood of its trading partners Japan and USA is very high.”




Artist: Gizz Farrell

To me Namibia is a unique and fascinating country, simply out of this World?

The combination of the desert and the drought, and yet the incredible variety of fauna and flora, combined with tranquillity ......... this gives me zest for life!

I don`t however only want to portray the beautiful side of this land, but also emphasise certain problems, such as aids and the extinction of animals and plant life. Past traditions on how to care for and live with nature have long been forgotten! All this is detrimental to our earth ....... and why? Only through the egoistic desires of humans!!

I hope that every single persons that visits Namibia will make this decision, to take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints!?

Save the Bushman, Save the Rhino, Save the World !




Artist: Nana Kaba

(not the same bear as on the BB homepage)

Guinea is the world's second largest producer of bauxite (an  aluminium ore), and has rich deposits of diamonds and gold. But the issue of human rights in the country remains controversial and the literacy rate of Guinea is one of the lowest in the world (Wikipedia)


Thursday, 20 December 2012

Thursday 20 December – Scary Bears

(well, face-masks were always a bit scary to me
they may have different connotations for other people!)



Artist: Rene Cadena Ayala

In Bolivia, farming and mining still play a significant role. In our mining areas resides a creature called Supay in my native language Aymara or Diablo in Spanish. This devilish creature is the Lord of the underworld. Where "EI Tio" lives are the treasures we human beings are digging for. Yet the Lord of the underworld watches over these treasures and demands sacrifices for robbing his riches. Yet “El Tio“ also has a good side: He gives lavishly to those who offer sacrifices to him. A particularly beautiful form of worship is the dance of the Diablada "Supay Thokhorinaka". The dance originates in the mining town Oruro and is danced there during the carnival. The dancers masked as devils of the Andes jump and spin around with an immense zest for life. As my bear is equally full of life, I let him dance the Diablada.



Location of  Nigeria  (dark blue)– in Africa  (light blue & dark grey)– in African Union  (light blue)  —  [Legend]


Artist: Aniama Kenneth Dazaa

“The word OMEKAGU in Nigerian language (Igbo) means Brave Man or Woman. OMEKAGU has two roles to play: a dancer and a warrior.

I used my bear to remind us of the origin (ROOTS) of Cultur and Tradition (Identity) of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. Cultur and Tradition is the only thing that unifies us, but has been more and more forgotten by today's people. Are you aware that the way to the Garden of Eden is not easy to trace anymore!

My bear represents Unity, which is shown by the mixed colours. It represents Peace, which comes through its dances and dramas. It portrays freedom and liberty obtained through braveness. And it teaches love through respect, tolerance and understanding.”


El Salvador

 El Salvador

(Spanish: República de El Salvador, literally 'Republic of The Savior') is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America.

Artist: René Chacón

“the jaguar was worshipped as a God in the Central American countries and cultures, including the Maya and the Pipiles. He was fiery and was mystified because of its immense strength and fascination. The transformation from jaguar to human being - human being into jaguar remained a privilege of some priests. Nowadays man has become a threat for the jaguar and it seems to have been bereft of its strength. For me, however, the fascination remains alive.”



Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Wednesday 19 December – Blue Bears


Location of  Ukraine  (green)in Europe  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]


Artist: Natalia Rudjuuk

“In the Ukrainian bear the traditions of popular decorative mural paintings are combined with the present and past life of the Ukrainian people.”




kuwait flag 

Artist: Thuraya Al-Baqsami

“When I was working on my bear, the war in Iraq had just finished. As I was very relieved about that I used cheerful colours to paint my bear. I'm dreaming of peace for all the people of this world.

The palm tree on the bear's belly symbolises kindness. I've generally used many symbols and show the observer a nostalgic view of Kuwait. I got inspired by the beauty of the Arabic heritage: By its masterful craft, its art of weaving, the many Arabic legends and, not least, by the beauty of the Arabian desert.”



Kap Verde


Location of Cape Verde (circled).

The Republic of Cape Verde, is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres (350 miles) off the coast of Western Africa.

Artist: David Levy Lima

My bear radiates "the Lightness of Being" and would like to share its joie de vivre with all those people looking at him.
--- a landscape of volcanoes, sand dunes and the sea. The hot sun makes the light flicker - music is in the air.



Location of  Greece  (dark green)– in Europe  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]


Artist: Leda Luss-Luyken

Greece is --- the home of the antique Olympic Games and the idea of peace related to them. In ancient Greece there was a commitment to international peace during the Olympic Games.

I've dedicated my "Olympic bear" to this sports event and its ideals of international understanding.

The main colour is blue, the colour of Greece, the sea and the sky. This blue hasn't been applied evenly, but in light and dark shades representing the ups and downs of life.

Welcome to also visit my main blog: Beyond the Lone Islands