Following the community consultation, Ancient Connections is delighted to announce that artist Bedwyr Williams working with Contemporary Art Society has been selected to create the new piece of public art titled ‘Do the Little Things’ that will link St Davids with Ferns, Wexford.
Bedwyr, who is based in Caernafon, North Wales, has proposed to create a series of giant beehives, three in St Davids Cathedral grounds and three in Ferns (location to be decided). These beautiful structures would be modelled on traditional skeps, and although they would be much larger than a typical beehive, they are functional hives and would house real bee colonies. The artist has proposed that the communities in each location will take over the care for the bees and compare the unique flavour of the honey produced with their neighbours across the Irish Sea through exchange visits.
The decision to select Bedwyr from the shortlist of five artists, was made by a cross-border panel of specialists, who unanimously agreed that Bedwyr’s proposal bridged ancient traditions with modern concerns for the environment and biodiversity as well as highlighting the story of friendship between St David and St Aidan. According to legend, St Aidan was mentored by St David, who gave him a gift of bees before Aidan returned to Ireland to found the monastery in Ferns.
Bedwyr’s proposal was also the overall favourite with the communities when the scores were averaged out, with a Pembrokeshire voter saying “I like the fact that this is a “living” sculpture, in that it will house live bee colonies. This will provide much needed pollinating insects in both communities and continue the ancient tradition of bee keeping”. And a Wexford voter saying “This project is simplicity itself, I particularly like the idea of the bees collecting the pollen to bring it back to the beehive and being turned into lovely honey. It would be a great idea and it would help to conserve and safeguard our environment”.
“I’m interested in objects that invite communities to become active participants to make the artwork whole. I want people to become fully engaged in the artwork, doing the little things to bring the artwork to life, forgetting themselves and their daily concerns for a few hours. St David’s last words were “Gwnewch y pethau bychain” or “Do the little things.” This ethos has guided the development of my proposal which is founded on the story of St David and St Aidan and steeped in the magic and history of these two intertwined locations”.
Bedwyr will now engage with the communities in both regions to drill down into the detail of how to translate this wonderful concept into a successful venture in practical terms.