About 35 percent of the world’s food crops and 75 percent of flowering plants depend on these winged creatures to reproduce. These pollinators have become increasingly threatened by human action; witness bee colony collapse disorder. Beehives have been disappearing at nearly twice the normal rate of loss, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
516 ARTS has gathered artists from New Mexico and across the globe for “Cross Pollination” in a response to this crisis. The exhibition also reveals a cross pollination between art and science.
More than 250 species of bees buzz through New Mexico, according to exhibition curator and beekeeper Valerie Roybal. Honeybees are not native to America; settlers brought them here from Russia and Italy. But Native Americans kept bees because they needed to grow crops, she said.
“They were on the planet before us,” Roybal said. “There were paleolithic bees 40 million years ago. Plants, flowers and bees evolved together.”