An art installation designed for Dag Hammarskjold Plaza draws attention to the importance of honey bees to our food supply and environment. Muralist Matt Willey created 193 painted panels of bees to represent the number of UN-member nations. Already, the artist has made his mark with bee murals for organizations that include Burt’s Bees corporate headquarters, prestigeous museums and public spaces.
The park’s entrance dome represents a swarm of bees that have flown from the symbolic bee hives seen on the sculpture platform next to the fountain.
“The Good of the Hive Initiative begins with the struggle of the honeybees, but it also views the hive as a metaphor for communities of people,”says Willey.
“Honeybees within the hive ‘think’ collectively; their immune system is collective: the health of the individual is based on the health of the collective. Whether that community is an actual honeybee hive or the American people as a whole, the health and success of the individual relies heavily on the connections within groups. This is the essence of The Good of the Hive Initiative.”
“We want to stimulate dialogue and awareness of how the health of the honey bee impacts our own health and food supply,” says FDHP President Sherrill Kazan.
WHAT’S AILING THE HONEY BEES? Colony Collapse is a disorder in which large numbers of bees disappear from the hive, abandoning their queen. First reported in 2006, the vanishing bees seem to have lost their homing instinct, as if their DNA were damaged. The use of pesticides known as neonicotinoids has been implicated, but without conclusive evidence, the chemical continues to be widely used in large-scale industrial agriculture.