Artists around the world work everyday to raise awareness for problems they are passionate about. Three artists in particular are stirring up the buzz about Colony Collapse and the rapid decline of the world bee population.
One such artist and beekeeper, Ladislav Hanka, created an installation piece in collaboration with his bees displayed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2014. This piece was called the Great Wall of Bees and consisted of the artists etchings of flora and fauna covered in honeycomb by his bees, displayed inside a glass case filled with 5000 bees. This massive case showed viewers the beauty of the process of bees filling the honeycomb in, as well as exemplifying the beautifully collaborative symbiosis between the artist/keeper and the bees.
In 2014-2015, London mural artist Louis Masai paired up with fellow street artist Jim Vision to put up murals of bees in densely populated areas to raise awareness of the bee crisis. These huge pieces are eye-catching spray paint images of bees, sometimes just there or sometimes caught in a sticky situation, and are always tagged with the artists’ signatures and the popular campaign: #Save The Bees. A seed company sent them a thousand packets of seeds for bee friendly plants and the artists hand them out to passersby while painting bees. This activism goes one step further than raising awareness by actually working towards making the urban environment a better one for bees. The artists also organized the “Save the Bees family day” event to raise awareness and connect a community around this venture. The main artist, Louis Masai, also incorporated this work into his 2015 show on endangered species entitled “When We Go, We’re Taking You All With Us”.
In February of this year painter Meesha Goldberg directed a project entitled “Equilibrium Rites” in which she and two other artists walked along 100 miles of almond orchards in California to raise awareness for the Bee Crisis. The three Oregon based artists were joined by three other women as they dressed in the garb of the Melissae (ancient Greek bee priestesses) and banged a drum methodically, walking 20 miles of beautiful flowering orchards per day. This performance art/ritual/activist event took place during the gathering of 85% of the country’s honeybees in California to pollinate the hundreds of thousands of acres of almond orchards. This activism doesn’t just raise awareness of the bee crisis, it focuses the attention on this specific event and the related problems of monocultures/food deserts, disease, and pesticides. In association with the event there were series of photographs and paintings created and even a short film made. These were displayed in a gallery exhibit entitled “Honey and Venom” in August.