Canadian artist, Aganetha Dyck, freely admits that she doesn’t do most of the work to create the art that carries her name. And yet, her exhibitions have been shown all over the world without a complaint from the real creators. In fact, they are happily buzzing about her work that is currently on display at the Ottawa School of Art.
It’s because those workers are honey bees. But don’t worry – Dyck is still giving them most of the credit. Dyck is partnering with the honey bees to create unique honeycomb art as well as bringing awareness to the fact that bee populations have plummeted up to 50% because of colony collapse disaster.
Her process to create each piece takes patience from her and hard work from the bees. To create a piece, she first chooses a human-made object such as a figurine, shoe, or lobster trap. Then she dabs bits of honey, wax, or honeycomb patterns to encourage the bees to build upon certain areas, although most of the design will be at the will of the bees. She finally encases the object with the honey bees.
After months or years, the object covered in the honeycomb is removed. Then Dyck carefully shapes the wax to show a mixture of man and nature. The ordinary objects now have a second life as something new and shaped by nature.
Some of her pieces are stunning. One, in a collection called “The Extended Wedding Guests” is a wedding dress draped in honeycomb. It took the bees twelve seasons to complete the natural wedding dress.
Dyck’s art reminds us that we are a part of nature, a part of the environment. We begin to realize that these tiny bees are more than just annoyances on a summer day. They are responsible for pollinating a large portion of the farmland. Without these tiny workers, we would starve. Our fates are eternally tangled, just like the art that the bees and Dyck create.