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Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
City's group hug in name of art
Gao Qiang
People in Nottingham are being invited to hug a total stranger - all in the name of art.

Renowned Chinese artists the Gao brothers will stage their first British World Hug Day performance at the city's Arboretum on Sunday.

Participants will be instructed to hug a stranger for 15 minutes before embarking on a group hug accompanied by music from composer JS Bach.

The brothers said it would be the first mass-hugging event staged in Britain.

Hugging cluster

Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang from Beijing first took their unusual art form, The Utopia of Hugging, to the stage in the Shangdong Province of China in September 2000.

They invited 150 volunteers, previously strangers to each other, to choose one person at random to hug, which they then did simultaneously with hundreds of other couples.

The group then all joined together to form a giant hugging cluster.

Gao Zhen said: "Since then, we personally have hugged hundreds of strangers, and organised group hugs amongst strangers in different public locations and in different ways all across China."

They then decided to set up their World Hug Day via the internet and invited people across the world to post their public hugging photographs.

The brothers said they were inspired to start the exhibition because of the lack of hugging in their native country.

The Nottingham show will be accompanied by an international photographic exhibition of the brothers' performances so far.

The next stop for the global tour is Marseille on 9 June.

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