Bedwyr Williams 'Do the Little Things' Public Art Commission in Ferns and St Davids
Ancient Connections is thrilled to be able to create a permanent legacy of the project through commissioning public art in St Davids and Ferns.
Bedwyr Williams was selected from a shortlist of five artists by a cross-border panel in July 2021. He has proposed to create a series of giant beehives, three in St Davids Cathedral grounds and three in Ferns. 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 project is in its early stages. Currently the focus is on finding the ideal locations for the skeps and connecting with local bee keeping specialists to ensure that public safety is ensured as well as the wellbeing of the bee colonies.
Bedwyr Williams is originally from St Asaph and now based in Caernafon. He is widely recognised as one of Wales’ most significant contemporary artists and represented Wales in the Venice Biennale in 2013 with his installation ‘The Starry Messenger’. He works across a range of mediums in both gallery and public art settings, often employing wry humour and surrealism to explore culture through a different lens. For this project, he will be working closely with Contemporary Art Society, a consultancy specialising in support and delivery of public art projects. Bedwyr says:
“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’s proposal was also the most popular among the communities of North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford, who took part in the online survey. These were some of the comments that community participants made about the project:
“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”.
“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”.
Funded by: Ancient Connections