Knitters present monumental ‘honeycomb’ on behalf of bees

A honeycomb project brings attention to the declining bee population. Photo: Facebook
A massive knitted honeycomb at the Olimpo represents the plight of the bees. Photo: Facebook

A large honeycomb of yarn has filled the Olimpo Cultural Center’s Central Patio with an art project from a knitting collective called Gancho el Desapego, which loosely translates as “Hook the Indifference.”

The knitters wish to hook the public onto the cause of the beleaguered honeybee, whose numbers are in decline.

More than 1,300 knitted hexagons represent the laborious work of those bees.

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Eugenia Iturriaga Acevedo and Daniela Rivera Kohn, members of the collective, said that the project was started last year in response to a challenge from the International Cervantino Festival.

El Panal Monumental (The Monumental Honeycom) was first presented as an installation on the steps of the University of Guanajuato, and later in Mexico City.

People from all over the country were invited to contribute a hexagon, which were joined to form the finished product, which is composed of more than 1,300 hexagons, each 15 centimeters wide.

The members of the collective are here for Mérida Fest, the city’s vast annual celebration of its 476th anniversary.

The installation differs from place to place to adapt to each unique space. While most panels were knitted by women, some men also contributed.

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Members of the collective will gather 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, in the Olimpo press room for a roundtable discussion about bees with Ana Ramos and Stephane Palmieri.

That will be followed by a screening of the 2016 documentary, “Yarn: The Movie.” The film by Montreal-based Icelandic director Una Lorenzen focuses on a handful of global artists whose work explores the possibilities contained in a skein of yarn.

Mexico contains a great diversity of bees, but has faced a gradual reduction in their numbers. The main reasons for their decline are the loss of natural vegetation and the increase of fertilizers and agrochemicals used on the plants that provide food for the bees.

Beekeeping benefits more than 41,000 producers in Mexico, where there are about 2 million beehives. Honey exports bring in about US$56 million annually. The two main production corridors are the Yucatán Peninsula, Chiapas, Veracruz and Guerrero.

Many indigenous communities work in the beekeeping field and some of them still cultivate and harvest honey using pre-Hispanic techniques, such as clay pots.

Sources: Diario de Yucatán, United Nations University

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