To make a prairie

Fiona Filipidis

2016 - Ongoing

Portugal; France; United Kingdom

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,

One clover, and a bee,

And revery.

The revery alone will do,

If bees are few.

Emily Dickinson

Will revery alone really do if bees are few? As much as I love to daydream, I’m afraid the answer is a resounding, gut-wrenching ‘NO’. Bees are crucial to the continuation of human life. But our impact on the environment through the misuse of insecticides, added to the proliferation of pests and diseases and loss of habitat, is threatening the survival of this mighty insect. When bees have access to good nutrition, so do we – you can thank them for one in three bites of food you eat – and yet every batch of pollen has at least six pesticides in it.

From poetry to politics, religion to architecture, the honey bee has managed to waggle-dance itself into every nook and cranny of the human world. Our relationship with the bee is one that spans thousands of years, and I have attempted to synthesise it in one single project.

Conceived as a book featuring my own photographs and found archival imagery, this project mingles the past with the present, showing our constant and ever-growing relationship with the honey bee. I wanted to play around with the visual representation of the bee, and my image pairings are often comical and bounce off one another. Texts, a mix of personal life experiences and detailed knowledge about them and their history in relation to us, introduce all 6 chapters.

This project is more relevant now than ever. Every day, news articles emerge with ever-growing alarming headlines about bees. We humans hold their fate in our millions of hands. By some unimaginable, intangible natural power, we have been given the gift of life, and it is our duty to make sure all living entities that share our cosmos continue on the path they were meant to take.

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