All photos courtesy The Elephants & Bees Project / Lucy King
When trying to protect farms in east Africa from elephants, it would seem that nothing short of a giant reinforced fence or a chasmic ditch could safely keep the largest land animals on Earth away without causing harm. Unfortunately, building such barriers around every field is impractical, and the interactions of people protecting their crops frequently leads to accidents or even death of both farmers and elephants. But zoologist Lucy King had a much smaller idea: bees.
It turns out elephants are terrified of bees because when the insects sting the inside of their trunks the pain is excruciating and there’s little they can do about it. The sound of buzzing alone is enough to make elephants leave an area immediately. King wondered what might happen if a string of suspended beehives at every 10 meters around a field might be enough to keep elephants away. A pilot program in 2009 proved widely successful and soon The Elephant and Bees Project was born.
There are now active beehive fences in Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. Not only do the fences help pollinate crops and safely deter elephants, they also become an additional revenue stream for farmers who harvest honey and sell it locally, a fascinating example of interspecies landscape engineering.
The Elephant and Bees Project is currently trying to raise funds to greatly expand the program. You can make a donation here. (via Neatorama, Nag on the Lake)
In this new series of striking images, San Francisco-based photographer Beth Moon (previously) captures some of the world’s oldest living trees against shimmering night skies in remote areas of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Titled Diamond Nights, the new photos were inspired in part by Moon’s interest in several new studies suggesting a relationship between starlight and cosmic radation on tree growth. Diamond Nights is a progression of Moon’s 15-year journey photographing ancient trees around the world. Moon shares about her process:
The majority of these photographs were created during moonless nights, shot with a wide angle lens and ISO of 3200 – 6400. The Milky Way, a ribbon of stars that stretches from horizon to horizon burns brightly in some of the images. Exposures up to 30 seconds allowed enough light to enter the lens without noticeable star movement. Each location required a lot of experimenting. and different lighting techniques. Sometimes a short burst of diffused light from a flashlight was sufficient, or bounced light from multiple flashlights was used for a softer more natural glow.
You can see many more shots in this online gallery, and read more about Moon’s work on the series on Feature Shoot.
New York-based artist Paul Louise-Julie has spent the last 7 years researching African civilizations and art, including a year-long journey to West Africa and the Sahara Desert. These sculptures (and 3D paintings) are part of a resulting body of work Louise-Julie created in response to his discoveries and experiences there. The pieces represent a successful collision of artistic methods and themes from multiple cultures, blending ideas from Western contemporary art, traditional African methods, and even Japanese-influenced origami and paper craft. The artworks you see here are among his first sculptures. Louise-Julie is also working on a companion graphic novel that will be released gradually starting later this year.
You can see more of his work over on Behance and Facebook. (via Feather of Me, Cross Connect)
With a background in woodwork, ceramics, weaving, dressmaking, and even stained glass windows, artist Sophie Standing consolidates her breadth of talent in these explosively colorful textile collages of animals and insects. Standing was born in England but now lives and works in Kenya where she seeks inspiration in African wildlife, namely some of the world’s most endangered species like elephants, lions, and rhinoceroses. To create each piece she first paints or sketches on fabric and then draws from a vast collection of decorative fabrics acquired from her travels around the world to create a dense patchwork of color and texture. The artwork is then finished with dense line work applied with a sewing machine.
Standing is currently available for commissions, and you can see more of her work closeup in her online gallery. (via Hi-Fructose)
Sundust is a new series of ten portraits of fictional sun goddesses by Toronto-based visual artist Sara Golish. Each piece is meticulously executed in charcoal, conté, and gold ink, and marks a distinct evolution in Golish’s style of portraiture. From her statement about the series which was unveiled at Brockton Collective during the summer solstice:
This year, Sara Golish marks this celebration [the summer solstice] with her new series SUNDUST, a salute to the fertility of the sun goddess through ten portraits of women from the continent most touched by the sun’s embrace – Africa. Compelled by the lack of female personified sun deities, Golish aims to revise and re-examine the male dominated sun god through the recasting of the past in order to re-envision the future. Released on the eve of summer solstice, the ladies of SUNDUST represent and celebrate all that is light, powerful, and life-giving.
A few of the originals are still available, and limited edition prints are for sale through her website. You can see all ten works with detailed descriptions over on Facebook. (via Gaks Designs)
Artist Gerhard Marx in conjunction with Spier Architectural Arts recently created an enormous sculptural mosaic of an aerial photograph of Johannesburg, South Africa. Seven professional mosaic artists, together with nine apprentices worked for 5 months to complete the project using natural stone such as marble and travertine, fragments of red brick, ceramic elements and chips of Venetian smalti glass. In the end, the 56-panel aerial image weighs nearly three tons and was presented last month at the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair.
Watch the video above to see how the piece came together, and also learn about another work created through an additional partnership between Spier and artist Sam Nhlengethwa. (via Colossal Submissions)