Contemporary art has long been a vehicle used to highlight various social issues that effect society. On the graffiti covered walls that surround Brick Lane and Shoreditch High Street Station, organisers of the Save the Bees Project are using large-scale murals to draw attention to the future of bees.
The street art initiative led by artist and activist Louis Masai, is designed to bring awareness to “plight of the bees” and to educate the public on the vital role they play in our environment. The honeybee population is dying off at alarming rates and their extinction could be catastrophic, as we rely them to pollinate the crops we consume.
Bringing this message to the streets was a tactful strategy for Masai and the other organisers who believe: “When art is placed in the public domain, or in the streets, it can interact with a much wider audience than when hung in galleries.”
The brightly coloured graffiti works are hard to miss. The activist pieces range from massive murals that span entire walls, to smaller images presented alongside graffiti. A mixture of text and images thrust the mission of the project into the forefront. Spray-painted slogans like “If the bees die, we die” and “When we go, we’re taking you with us”, are presented alongside depictions of bees holding picket signs to reveal the seriousness and urgency of the cause.
Brent Barkman, 27, a software development manager said: “I pass this mural daily on my way to work, and it definitely caught my eye. The possible extinction of bees is not something normally on my radar, so I think the graffiti idea is a great way to spread the message.”
Shoreditch resident, Garrett Duncan, 25, said: “It’s scary to think about this happening. These slogans are definitely the most effective.”
Raising the issue is only the beginning for the Save the Bees Project. The organisers believe that the real challenge will be for corporations to stop using pesticides and fungicides on crops. It is exactly those types of chemicals that are bringing bees to the brink of extinction.
For the public however, acknowledging the cause is one place to start, and of course, by showing support to the Save the Bees Project you can in a small way save these tiny but vital creatures.
For more information on the Save the Bees Project, please visit their Facebook page.