Bees are indispensable to life in the plant and animal world that we know today. The assisted fertilization provide by the transport of pollen permitted flowering plants to dominate the earth. Most of our food, rich in protein, nutrients and energy come from the plants that have formed a lasting relationship with pollinators like bees
Linked to humans since the Paleolithic Age, honey from bees is an essential element in mankind’s culture, both sacred and profane. People harvested honey to produce the first alcoholic beverage, mead, used for sacred
festivals, and we can find traces of it as much in ancient Greece as in Egypt and South America and Africa, and throught much of the temperate zone.
Opening a hive means reaching the essence, life before you, offered up like the abundance of spring. The shared work of the bees, united for a common goal, and the durability of the lineage have always been sources of inspiration for poets as well as for beekeepers.
Intelligent, and hard working, seemingly selfless yet united in a larger unit, bees evoke in us a fascination of the wonders of life, the gift and the mystery that make us forget for a moment our human condition as we witness the marvelous.
Around the world, beekeeping is part of the great agricultural traditions. Honey gathering and beekeepers are an indispensable for those who make a living growing our food. However, bees are disappearing because ofpesticides, intensive farming and deforestation.
Four kinds of honey-making bees, Asian Apis dorsata, Mid Eastern and Asian Apis cerana, originally African and European, and now naturalized through the Western Hemisphere, Apis mellifera, and the pantropical stingless honey bees, are highlighted. These colorful representatives of the pollinator realm provide a new outlook on the relationship between humans and bees throughout the world. Starting on the cliffs of India where the Irulas harvest the honey of the giant rock bee at forbidding heights,the exhibit invites the visitor on a journey to explore fascinating and little known worlds.
From spectacular images taken inside the hive to the new modes of urban beekeeping in Hong-Kong and New York, this exhibition will take you to the source of honey, right into the heart of the colony. From that intimate moment when the queen, surrounded by her court, moves along the wax cells looking for an empty one in which to lay an egg to a distant land amongst the pastoral nomads of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia where mead, the beverage of the Gods, flows freely during the initiation of the young men, we discover not only the beauty but also the immense variety that makes up the world of the bees and this world in which we live.
Unique images show the marvels of the living world, they reveal the secrets of the South American «killer bees», which are also excellent honey producers. Striking and unprecedented images show the stingless honey bees. Their honey has been harvested by the Amerindian people and tropical people worldwide, since the dawn of time. Further images bear witness to many fascinating cultural details, such as living conditions of the nomad beekeepers of China, who entertain at festivals by creating for themselves beards of bees.
In the great equatorial forest of Africa, pygmies harvest honey from the 50 meter high forest canopy. For them, honey dates back to the founding myth, the encounter between man and woman. It represents the gift from the God Comba, the creator, and a gift of honey to a woman is the best way to seduce her or keep her. On the immense lakes in the center of Borneo, during moonless nights, beneath the stars and at risk to their lives, men harvest the honey of the giant bees.