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Art Exhibition: The Honeybee Scriptures – Messages from Inside a Living Hive

Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 United States
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September 28, 2018 @ 10:00 am - November 11, 2018 @ 4:30 pm

Cost: Free

Kalamazoo, Mich., artist Ladislav Hanka’s beeswax-encrusted etchings are on display at Matthaei Botanical Gardens through November 11. After completing his etchings of plants, insects, and other creatures, Hanka places them inside a living beehive and allows the honeybees within to lay down honeycomb and wax on top of the plates. The result is what Hanka calls a “collaborative creative process.”

The Honeybee Scriptures: September 28 through November 11. Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. 734.647.7600. Free. Open daily 10 am- 4:30 pm; until 8 pm Wednesdays.

Hanka 26 Moose skull embalmed

Moose Skull Embalmed, by Ladislav Hanka, 2014.  Etching with aquatint and drypoint with beeswax added by living bees.

Million Dollar Oak

Million Dollar Oak Embraced by a Swarm of Honeybees, by Ladislav Hanka, 2014. Etching with aquatint and drypoint, with beeswax added by living bees.

Hanka writes:

“The etchings you see here, encrusted with beeswax, are made in the time-honored way, much as Rembrandt recorded the Dutch landscape on copper plates in the 17th century. Here the etchings have, however, taken on a second life, as I insert these completed works into a living beehive, where bees take over and continue the now collaborative creative process.

“Bees will eventually cover everything in wax or even capped honey – or they may conversely take a dislike to the intrusion, in which case swarms of little critics will start chewing up my precious artwork. I must therefore continually monitor the hive in order to reclaim my work at the right moment.

“Entering the hive to check on things is not as dramatic as you may think. Usually I can dip my hands into the living swirling bug soup inside unmolested and inspect my art as well as the larval bees and honey stores, while the bees go calmly about their business. There are, however, days when bees are agitated and then the interspecies communication is direct. If you are headstrong enough to ignore guard bees bouncing off your forehead, you deserve to be stung – and yes, I do get stung.

“The collaboration has been well worth any discomfort I may suffer. These wondrous, little beings have rewarded my efforts richly, adding their accretions of wax in the exquisite ways with which mother nature has equipped them. I find their additions to be as inevitably elegant as the endless variety of gently curving veils of honeycomb you find hanging from the domed ceilings within a bee tree.”


September 28, 2018 @ 10:00 am
November 11, 2018 @ 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105 United States
+ Google Map
(734) 647-7600

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