Un-bear-ably Cute: Exhibit in local mall a hit amongst Flushing cubs

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Internationally acclaimed artist Eladio de Mora’s celebrated collections are displayed around the globe, nestling in corners of Austria, Cuba, Spain, France, England, Portugal, Mexico and Italy.

But it is his gummy-like grizzly creations that are garnering much glee from local cubs in downtown Flushing.

An army of 30 colorful, bright neon bear sculptures — ranging in size from two-and-a-half to six-and-a-half feet — marched into Sky View Center on June 21 and will call the multilevel mall home until August 31.

“This project has been one of my favorites to take around the world. It’s bright, engaging and it brings a smile to everyone’s face,” said de Mora, who is known as dEmo. “Whether you’re a young child or an adult, you can appreciate the vibrancy of the Bears and their different sizes.”

The melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities swarming downtown Flushing, dEmo said, made it a perfect platform to showcase the pop art exhibit. Sky View Center’s Bears is only the third exhibit location in the country.

The confectionery carnivores, officials said, are strategically strewn around the mall in an engaging maze. Multiple contests will soon be launched to get shoppers to tour the building to find all 30 bears — or an assortment of different colored ones. The first winner in each category, officials said, will win a Sky View Center gift card.

“It’s cute and fun,” said 14-year old Christine Wu of Bayside, who could only find up to half of collection. “You walk around looking for them.”

Ed Hilla, general manager of Sky View Center, said the animals are already a huge hit with families who are all welcome to get up close and personal with the harmless glass teddies.

“When people walk into the door, they immediately gravitate toward these big, colorful bears. Why? They’re the same size as humans,” he said. “The exhibit exposes artwork and culture in an environment that you normally wouldn’t find it. You can get up close and touch it, whereas in a museum you’re always four feet away.”

While Sky View Center has participated in several overhead décor programs in the past, Hilla said this is the mall’s first art installation. Its goal is to provide the public with a free, visually pleasing and culturally stimulating exhibit.

The mall-wide showcase was curated by Flushing’s contemporary art gallery Crossing Art. It can be found at 41-22 College Point Boulevard in Flushing until the end of August.

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