British artist’s giant sculpture comes bear-ing environmental message

Christmas display by Robert Bradford features artwork made from recycled materials

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 November, 2016, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 November, 2016, 11:36pm

A giant teddy bear made by a British artist out of recycled material is on display in a Kwun Tong shopping centre to promote protecting the environment.

The 12-foot bear, made of 20,000 flowers and toys and sitting on an equally massive armchair, is the centrepiece of Robert Bradford’s exhibition.

“When you’re a small child, the bears look huge. Adults will get the same feeling when they look at this,” the 70-year-old artist said.

Hong Kong generates the largest amount of domestic waste in the region, at 1.36kg per capita a day, ahead of 1kg in Taipei, 0.95kg in Seoul and 0.77kg in Tokyo, according to local authorities.

Bradford’s exhibition shows that discarded products can have a second life.

The use of “cheap, ordinary things” as sculpture material is Bradford’s way of “elevating” those items into something “more beautiful, more valuable or more important”.

Bradford considers himself a populist artist, wanting people to be able to relate to his work.

The display features the giant bear as the proprietor of a factory making other bears. This allowed Bradford the freedom to make different types of bears using a wide variety of colours and materials.

The artist’s love of colour explains the exhibition’s wide palette.

Trained as a painter and a filmmaker, Bradford made his entry into sculpting when he built a large bonfire sculpture of Guy Fawkes for Guy Fawkes Night 20 years ago.

This is Bradford’s first trip to Asia and the first time his work has been on display on the continent.

The Christmas display can be viewed at apm shopping mall in Kwun Tong. The exhibition was officially launched on Sunday and is open to the public until January 5.