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“Incarnation” is a series of paintings created by millions of honey bees, in collaboration with artist and apiarist Joseph Farrugia. Humans have drawn energy and inspiration from honey bees for thousands of years and this primal relationship lays at the heart of this series. From ancient Egyptian pharaohs to medieval monks to NASA, honey bees have been looked to as examples of hard work, cooperation, order and a measure of environmental health. This bond between us and bees has broken in recent years and the majority are in a crisis right now. “Incarnation” draws viewers attention to one aspect of the Anthropocene extinction unfolding, by displaying honey bees stunning fabrication skills, interlaced with dead or shed natural materials (bones, antlers, shells, feathers) and allegorical references.


To facilitate the making of each painting, Farrugia has designed and built modified hives to interact with his honey bee colonies. Viewers will be able to not only see the work, but also smell the aromatics from the wax to be inspired and invoked with awe at the honey bees abilities. Each painting is an assemblage of found materials by the honey bees and Joseph Farrugia. They are created in multiple stages by using the bee’s natural behaviours to add life to the art. Each painting takes approx. 18 months to assemble the materials and execute. The honey bees forage the land around Farrugia’s studio, bringing back nectar. The nectar is first transformed to honey, then to wax by the bees. In order to make 1kg of wax, the honey bees have to visit tens of millions of flowers to collect approx. 10kg of nectar. Farrugia collects bones, antlers, teeth and feathers while walking around his studio. He then composes the wax and materials on to canvas boards. These are introduced to the honey bees through different types of artmaking chamber developed by Farrugia. With some added honey onto the piece, the honey bees work the wax to the surface of the canvas panel. After a few weeks, the works are removed and coated in a propolis-shellac varnish to stabilize and archive the artworks materiality. At this point they are put into shadowbox frames to be hung for display in specific groupings.


Joseph’s latest work was exhibited last April at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, Canada (gladstonehotel.com/Grow-Op) and featured in the Mar/April edition of Murze Magazine, London, UK (https://www.murze.org/store/Murze-Issue-Five-Printed-Edition-Climate-Art-p135021053). In February-March 2020, Farrugia's work will be exhibited at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre Gallery, Scarborough, ON.

CV

EDUCATION

Present: Master Beekeeper. Cornell University, NY, USA

2006 - E.S.O.L. Certification. TEFL International. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

2005 - Diploma of Teaching and Learning (Senior Art & History). University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

2003 - Certificate of Spanish Language, Universidad de la Habana. Havana, Cuba

2003 - Bachelor of Fine Arts (Interdisciplinary). NSCAD University, Halifax, NS


EXHIBITIONS

2020 - Incarnation (Solo). Cedar Ridge Creative Centre Art Gallery. Scarborough, ON

2019 - Food Sport (Group). Good Sport. London, ON

2019 - Natural Selections (Group). Starbox Studio. Flesherton, ON

2019 - Grow OP: Energy. (Group) Gladstone Hotel. Toronto, ON

2018 - Curio Shadow Box Exhibition (Group). Earl Selkirk Gallery. Toronto, ON

2015- 2016Farm + Art (Group)Craganrock Farm. Mono, ON

2012- 2013Mono's Big Day Out (Group)Mono Community Centre. Mono, ON

2011In Search of Revolution (Solo)AWOL Gallery, Toronto, ON

2010- Peace, Love and Power (Group). Underground Cinema, Toronto, ON

2009South Simcoe Art Show (Group), Millpond Café, Alliston Ontario

2005 - Grad Show (Group), Christchurch College of Education, Christchurch, New Zealand

2003NSCAD 2003 Grad Show (Group). Anna Leonowens Gallery, Nova Scotia

 

RESIDENCIES

Upcoming 2020 Mothra.  Artscape Gibraltar Point. Toronto, ON

2019 Mothra.  Artscape Gibraltar Point. Toronto, ON

2018 - Mothra.  Artscape Youngplace. Toronto, ON

 

PUBLICATIONS

2019 - A Dream Within a Dream. VOYZX Art Magazine. (Published in May). Port Coquitlam, BC

2019 - Featured Artist. Murze Magazine. (Published in April). London, UK

2008 - A Visual Memoir by Joseph Farrugia. Arthur Magazine. (Published in Sept). Peterborough, ON

  

AWARDS

2009 - 2nd Place (Non-Commercial). Alliston Potato Festival Parade

2008 - 2nd Place (Non-Commercial). Alliston Potato Festival Parade

 

COMMITTEES

2019-2020 - Canadian Apitherapy Association

2019-2020 - Ontario Beekeepers Association

2008-2020 - Ontario College of Teachers

2019-2020 - Headwaters Arts

2015-2017 - Eco-Schools

2008-2010 - Town of Mono Heritage Committee

2008-2009  - South Simcoe Art Council