My final work communicates the impact for humans and our meals if bees go extinct. I chose to work with food as it is something we can all relate to, and appreciate how important it is in our daily routines of life. Food is an important piece of subject matter, because it makes those viewing the piece pay attention to what the message behind the work is. The empty third of the plate symbolises the amount of food on our plates that could go extinct if bees do too. This is because roughly a third of our meals is made possible by bees and the important jobs they do pollinating flowers, in order for food crops to thrive and reproduce. This aims to show viewers how important bees really are to our methods of producing food. But since the introduction of pesticides and mass crop monocultures after WWII, the bee populations of the world have been suffering.
This work has taken influence from the works of Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party”, as well as the research informing the percentages that my final piece is based on, such as dividing the plate into thirds. I have incorporated Chicago’s idea of using plates and cutlery for my subject matter, to tie into the theme of using food as a vehicle to communicate the importance of the issue I am looking at.
Another artist influence present in my final work is Sarah Hatton’s use of round shape, as communicated by the plate on the table in my photograph. Sarah Hatton works with circular shapes as a framing device for the patterns created by arrangements of dead bees resembling optical illusions. This use of organic shape also communicates that my issue concerns the natural world.
One part of this work that is important to note is the original ideas of activism and visual thinking as mentioned in Mirzoeff’s text How To See The World, dedicating an entire chapter towards social activism and the ways in which people have chosen to communicate ideas of protest against certain issues. This was important to keep in mind when creating my final work, in order to create a piece that is visually powerful and communicates the important statistics that I want to draw attention to.