Thoughts on Bees, Light, and Fog

Cultivate, up recently at the Roundhouse, was an exhibition of community-based art practices in Vancouver and featured the work of artists exploring ecological and environmental concerns. I was particularly taken with the work of Jasna Guy who presented an incredible, and enormous, silk tissue and beeswax printed “bee carpet”. The artist was interested in representing the “miracle of bees together, teeming thousands, living cooperatively and interdependently, raising their brood, foraging for nectar and pollen and creating unique products of honey and wax” (artist’s statement).

As most of us know by now, much to our distress and anger, bees are dying around the world in staggering numbers. Many scientists link these losses to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides; new studies have shown that neonicotinoids block the part of their brain bees use for learning, leaving them unable to make link between floral scents and nectar (Damian Carrington in The Guardian).  When all the bees die, so, too, will we … hand-pollinating crops can only take us so far. Guy visually makes this point in her bee carpet through the giant skull image that is the centrepiece of the work.

This work is really exquisite, both visually stunning and also appealing to the nose with its lingering scent of beeswax. Also visually stunning are the coloured lights that illuminate the Roundhouse Turntable Plaza at night, their shifting and changing hues giving the plaza a darkened rainbow affect.

Our fog-drenched few weeks in October made for some nice skies, below a view from our balcony above the fog bank out over the bridge.

“Sometimes fog makes me thirst for fields aflame with flowers” (David Marshall, Haiku Streak). Since I don’t have fields aflame with flowers, I will leave you instead with a painted tree.

See more pictures here. Read the Guardian article on bee death here.

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