A swarm of 100 giant Bees has landed in Manchester, forming a stunning public art trail called Bee in the City. Each Bee statue is hand-painted by an artist and features a unique design. Wild in Art and Manchester City Council have brought together Manchester’s communities and businesses to create this trail, which runs from 23rd July until 23rd September 2018.
Ipswich artist and 'speed-painter' Lois Cordelia is proud to unveil her Bee design Bee-You-ti-ful, which is generously sponsored by local adoption agency Adoption Counts. The design celebrates the power of adoption to transform a child's life into a world of love, creativity and imagination, as any child should have.
Bee-You-ti-ful is now on public view outside Manchester One on Portland Street, Manchester.
BeeYoutiful at Portland Street, Manchester Photo credit: Michael Phillips @thisisourmanchester Shared with kind permission. July 2018 Above: Bee-You-ti-ful, outside Manchester One on Portland Street, Manchester.
Photo credit: @thisisourmanchester, shared with kind permission. July 2018.
The design is inspired by themes of adoption, childhood and families (in all shapes and sizes), and features Lois's characteristic silhouette drawings over a mottled background of soothing iridescent and pastel colours. The silhouette style is adapted from Lois's work in the intricate paper-cut medium. She remarks:
"I love using silhouettes in my artwork, whether hand-drawn or cut out of paper, because they are so evocative. The simplest silhouetted human figure can give us goosebumps, because the absence of facial features means that we can easily relate to it. It is universal. Details such as the colour of skin, eyes or hair are irrelevant. I also like to play with the sense of scale, juxtaposing miniature figures with giant flowers, feathers and insects.
"This Bee is definitely the most complex three-dimensional canvas I have ever had the privilege and challenge of working on. With its six legs, narrow wings and delicate antennae, it is like a whole landscape of cliffs, caves and mountains, which I gradually populated with a host of tiny figures and animals to suggest a child's imaginative world. The structure of the Bee's legs in particular created many unexpected illusions, so that for example the trailing branches of a weeping willow appear to move in the breeze as you walk past the Bee."
A number of short 'bee' quotations appear in the design, alongside key words such as 'love', 'hope', 'Mum', 'Dad, 'family', and so on. Inspiring words include a saying of Coco Chanel: "Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself", reminding us to be true to ourselves. Even the word 'beautiful' contains its own instruction: 'Bee-YOU-ti-ful'. Follow your heart, make a bee-line for the things you love - just like a bee flies to find nectar.
Lois tells the story of Bee-You-ti-ful in this short (5 minute) film:
Clare Riley of Adoption Counts saw Lois painting part of her Bee design at the painting space in Manchester. She remarks: “It was amazing to watch Lois at work, drawing illustrative families and incorporating the words of some of our adoptive parents into the design. She really captured the essence of what we do; creating happy families, empowered throughout their adoption journey. Adoption Counts is very proud to be sponsoring, or should we say, adopting our very own Bee in the City Bee and look forward to unveiling her beautiful artwork on 4th July to celebrate our one year anniversary.”
Lois wishes to extend special thanks to Annie Laughrin of Wild in Art for her help and support in making this Bee possible.
Short video clip of work in progress on a tiny part of the design, using a Posca marker pen to add fine details.
Following the end of the trail, the Bees will each be auctioned off to raise valuable funds for local charities.