Saturday, April 20, 2019


Tallinn -- The year's ILGCN's (international rainbow culture network) Bears International diplomas for outstanding Bear art and photography were handed at the international Bear gathering -- Bearty-Tallinn in the Estonian capital on April 13, 2019.

One of the 2019 awards went to Stefan Zaric of Serbia, -- art historian, fashion designer and LGBT activist. "This is important not only for me but for all of us in Serbia! We will use this in the struggle for our rights!" Stefan told the audience.

Other awards were received by Martin Peterson of USA/Portugal focusing on art, music and performance and Kimmo Karjunen of Finland, working with art and lighting and performances. . A fourth diploma goes to to Leonsio Espinosa - Mexico/Norway, not present in Tallinn but to receive his diploma in Oslo in November during the 20th anniversary of the Norwegian Bamse Bear organization.

The 2018 award was handed over to photographer Vladimir Rob Lysenko of Russia for his photographic documentation of Bear events in many countries. "This is a total surprise for me and encourages me to continue to take photographs of our Bear events in Moscow and every where else!" Vladimir said.

A brand new Bear International award -- "Calais the traveller" honoring the promotion of international Bear exchange -- was handed over to John Earhart of the Norwegian Bamse organization for his years-long effort promoting exchange between Bears in Norway, Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere.

"This comes as a very pleasant surprise for me," John said. "I was a gay activist in Norway back in the 70's. But seeing the new Bear movements in so many countries has rekindled my involvement again. And I must add that in these recent years working with the Bears of the East, I have really met so many such good people!"

The award is named after Calais, the male lover of the ancient Greek musician Orfeus -- both travelling on the ship the Argos in search of the Golden Fleece. The diploma includes a drawing of the two Greek lovers by Spanish artist, Manolo Yanes.
Bear Art, Diplomas
"We are proud to have our award ceremonies at the Bearty-Tallinn international Bear event -- each year focusing on another phase of Bear culture. Bears International has only two functions -- to add Bear art and photography to the international rainbow collection by the ILGCN and Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers)," says Bill Schiller. "And handing out a few annual award diplomas to well-deserving LGBT artists and activists -- in a world where heterosexuals shower awards and prizes on each other daily by the hundreds!"

"The Bears International award selection team consists of representatives from Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Estonia," says Peter Fröberg, who helped hand over the award diplomas in Tallinn. "But we would very much like to widen the team with representatives from other countries!"

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