Bees might only be regarded by some as black and gold insects who provide a natural delight we call honey, but they are much more than that.
In an effort to ensure the survival of bees in Australia, international recording artist Toni Childs has created an 8.5 metre bee made out of paper and cardboard as part of her 'Bee Friendly' movement.
Katherine's Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre (GYRAAC) welcomed the bee prototype that was opened for public viewing for one night only on May 19.
When asked why the prototype was shown in Katherine, Toni said the idea unknowingly came to her in a dream some years ago.
"I had a very unique dream of an Aboriginal man from the Binjari community, I had never heard of Binjari before. It was one of those really impactful dreams," she said.
"In 2019, I was travelling through on a tour in Darwin and arranged to be set up to meet the Binjari people on my way to Katherine.
"Because of that, I got to meet some of the people there. We made plans in 2020 for me to go back for three weeks, but because of COVID, I got to stay in Katherine for four months.
"Having four months of being here, I asked if I could have my prototype here and GYRAAC said yes."
For Childs, her desire to spread awareness about the importance of pollinators began when she was working on her album, 'It's All a Beautiful Noise' (IAABN).
"At the time, I started noticing there were lots of posts on social media about the collapse of bees around the planet," she said.
"I wanted to do something to recognise and show the importance of the bee in my new 3D show. I wanted it to be inspirational and something to help establish bee friendly communities, households or farms.
"Without the bees, we're kind of screwed."
Childs decided that rather than do a single show, she would create a total of 30 bees for various regional locations across Australia by the end of 2022, and her show would arrive three months later.
Archisoul Architects Jo Gillies, Founder and Lead Architect, and Harrison Dumesich worked closely with Toni on the design of the bee.
"It's really important to put the bees in regional towns where they don't get fine art like this," she said.
"The installation of a bee will launch three months of bee centric activities and then my show comes to town.
"At the end of 2023, 300,000 silkworms will weave 30 bees that are going to be set up across 30 regional towns in Australia."
Childs' tour, IAABN, will be an engaging and thought evoking show that will send an important message out about pollinators.
"When my show comes to town, you're given a mask of a pollinator, and then at the end of the show, I invite you to go online to a treasure hunt, each mask has a URL. At the end of the treasure hunt, you're asked to send your mask to a physical location so all the masks in Australia become one giant public installation making a big, beautiful noise for our pollinators," Toni said.
"People get to participate in an art project.
"IAABN is two hours of my music, 3D animation, live action footage, storytelling and a lot of high-tech audience engagement."
Toni hopes to tour IAABN by the start of 2023.
For any updates, visit https://www.tonichilds.com/.
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