There has been a long tradition of artists employing assistants. Georgia O’Keeffe, for example, was blind (macular degeneration) at the end of her life. Her assistant helped prepare and paint the canvasses according to her direction. El Anatsui, (see the post from March 27), employs large teams of people to fabricate his hangings. It is a common practise in the art world.
Aganetha Dyck also has a large swarm of assistants. She uses bees to help her create her art.
Click here for a brief, informative video about the genesis of her idea to work with bees, and images from an installation of a show in the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Here is an interview with Ms Dyck, and the link provides more very good images of her work.
I love that Ms Dyck commissioned Di Brandt to write a poem for her installation Working in the Dark, at the DeLeon White Gallery in Toronto in 1999. Art and poetry: a perfect match. The poem was translated into braille, and the sheets of paper were introduced into bee hives. Most of the bees’ work was done in the dark, and the work was checked only shortly before the show. Juan Antonio Ramirez wrote Aganetha Dyck: Nature as Language in which he discusses her work, and its meanings.
While I was working at Martha Street Studio, an edition of intaglio prints was produced, which were then ‘finished’ by the bees. Each print of the edition was unique, and all of them are beautiful.
Aganetha Dyck received the Governor General’s Medal for Visual and Media Arts in 2007. She and Daphne are in good company.