Kasimir, the guardian of the inner child


Avinasho’s photographic journey with her teddy bear.

Xiva, Usbekan
Filmset in Usbekistan
MIttenwald, Germany
MIttenwald, Germany
Museum guard in Berlin

When Kasimir came into my life, I had not yet dealt much with the ‘inner child’. That was about to change.

A Polish friend had brought Kasimir from Warsaw. There, for two years, he had lived hidden in a cupboard in the care home of his mother with dementia – because she was afraid Kasi might be stolen. When the old lady passed away, Kasi ended up with my friend Piotr, as a kind of inheritance. A little later, Piotr was standing with Kasi in his arms in front of my door in Munich. Piotr said, “The bear said he wanted to come to Bavaria.”

It was love at first sight.

Kasimir assumed the job of reminding me of my inner child at every turn. Why is/was this important? Because an inner child suffers when it’s left in the unconscious, ignored, and packed-away; then all neuroses that we have hidden in our subconscious during childhood blow up in our faces.

Kasimir reminds me to ask myself at every turn: “What is good for me here and now?”, “What is too much right now?”, “Why am I going off the deep end right now?”

Bansky Exhibition
MET New York
Venice Biennale
Heller's Garden Morocco
Picasso Museum Antibes
MoMa New York
Museum der Fantasie Bernried
Museum der Fantasie Bernried

But that’s not all. Kasimir has become an art project. It happened like this: one day at the Venice Biennale I positioned Kasi on a work of art and took a photo. An American woman approached me and asked, “Are you doing some art-work?” In a flash, it was clear to me: good idea! And I said “Yes!”

Since then, Kasimir has been travelling from exhibition to exhibition and from country to country. I also meet people who turn up their noses indignantly, like “Old lady with a bear – how ridiculous!” So I know right away; these people are without a funny bone. Or I meet museum guards who desperately want to be photographed with Kasi. Or I put Kasi in a picture and before I can press the shutter button another person comes and takes a photo.

Kasi was also a great companion during the pandemic. He spent almost two years with me on the sofa, looking over my shoulder as I read Stefan Zweig or drew colourful sketches. We made ourselves comfortable with books and coloured pencils and let the virus be.

I sense that where/with whom Kasimir feels good, my inner child, i.e. me, feels good too.

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Avinasho (Susanne Elten) is a retired graphic designer, a writer and painter, based in Munich. www.susanne-maria-elten.de

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