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Buddha, a sacred cow and a pair of huge golden angel wings are just some of the exhibits included in this year's Gingerbread Mania exhibition which opens in Tallinn today.

On Thursday evening at the Design and Architecture Gallery in Tallinn, the smell of fresh gingerbread hung heavy in the air as artists off all trades gathered to officially open the 10th annual gingerbread exhibition.

This year, 100 artists have created work from gingerbread to go on display. They were asked to stick within the theme of "Holy Gingerbread" (Püha Piparkook).

Speaking to ERR at the opening event, organizer Mari-Liis Laanemaa said: “I have no words to describe the exhibits. They are just unbelievable. People have put so much of their feelings into their work. It really is holy gingerbread."

Gingerbread Mania was started in 2006 by Laanemaa and her partner Pelle Kalmo and has taken place annually ever since. The idea is to exhibit designs made from gingerbread, rather than the biscuit itself.

Artists come from all disciplines such as architecture, fine art and graphic design, and are given the same dough to make their models from.

The theme of holy gingerbread was chosen to commemorate the origins of the sweet treat, which was first made in the middle ages and was only eaten by the rich and influential, as the spices needed to create it were very expensive.

Laanemaa decided to start the event – which is not a competition – after realizing at university that not everyone made intricately designed gingerbreads like her family did.

One participant who had followed the brief to the letter was Tuuli Silber whose design of angels, clouds and stars was strung from the ceiling and swaying gently in the window. Her creation includes a flying elephant and a pig decorated with sugar stars and hearts hung from 3D clouds, and angel sitting on a gingerbread swing with red candy lace chains. 

“I started thinking about the saying "holy sky" [püha taevas in Estonian, an exclamation meaning "for heaven's sake" - ed.] and came up with the design,” she said. “It is the place where all good gingerbread goes after you eat it.” The part of the process that took the longest was hanging it up, Silber added.

Ülle Maiste was one of a group of four that baked the statue of Buddha. The architect and her group spent five days making the dough deity and were up until 02:00 the night before the exhibition.

She said: “He is baked in two parts because it wouldn’t fit in the oven, his body is one piece and his head the other. It was very easy to make – he is made for this material, especially the hair! It was a lot of fun.”

Gingerbread Mania runs from December 18, 2015 to January 9, 2016 at the Design and Architecture Gallery, Tallinn.

Editor: M. Oll

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