The Bär is no longer bare - A beary day for the firefighters from Kogarah
Enlarge image (© GC Sycney) The bear as the heraldic animal of the German capital came to Australia to give a warm and open welcome to visitors from all over the world in the hall of the German Consulate-General in Sydney. But to fulfil his purpose as one of the greatest ambassadors to Germany and as a symbol of friendship and tolerance it had to be painted by an artist from the host country. Ms Kim Spooner, a teacher at the National Art School and a well-known artist not only in Australia, won the competition for the best design and took on the challenge of painting the bear in the colours and with the animals of Australia – making herself a part of the great friendship between Germany and Australia. Koalas, kangaroos, a cockatoo, a kookaburra and a sugar glider are only a few examples of the eye-catching and cute design decorating the bear. When the consulate staff arrived in Tempe on Thursday morning the bear was already surrounded by a curious and admiring crowd. Kim’s son Dan – a proud firefighter himself – introduced the bear to his mates, who were more than happy to give a hand to Buddy Bär’s transport back to the consulate. With his help and with the help of his strong colleagues the bear was transported safely and accompanied by a fire truck through the tough traffic of Sydney. On arrival at the consulate the artist, the firemen and the bear were warmly welcomed by the Consul-General and all of the consulate’s staff and soon after attracted the attention of many passers-by. Under the flurry of camera flashlights and the inquisitive attention of bystanders the bear was transported into Level 17 where another photo session was awaiting Kim and the supportive and brave men. The reinstalment of the beautifully finished bear was followed by a ceremony expressing the consulates gratitude on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany to the artist, the firemen, Dr Dreyfus from the National Art School and everybody involved in the process of embellishment. Even the radio channel SBS was attending for another report on Buddy Bärs great return.
We are all really happy to have our bear painted that beautifully and are proud and thankful for the Artist Kim Spooner’s enduring engagement and the great support of her son Dan and the firefighters Con, Joal and Rob, who did a great job transporting the bear back safely.