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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
City embraces mass hugging event
Hugging performance
The Gao's first staged their hugging performances in 2000
People in Nottingham have taken part in what is thought to be the first ever mass hugging event staged in Britain, all in the name of art.

Around 100 visitors gathered in the Arboretum to take part in renowned Chinese artists the Gao brothers' World Hug Day on Sunday.

Participants were invited to hug a stranger for 15 minutes before joining in a group hug.

The event was accompanied by music composed by JS Bach.

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.

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

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