Summer 2021 & 2022
Between Us is a long-term creative relationship – part mentorship, part collaboration – connecting senior artist Aganetha Dyck with selected artists, beekeepers and honeybees in Regina, Yorkton, Swift Current, Estevan and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Between Us refers to the distances and differences between us, especially evident during social isolation due to COVID-19. The project title also refers to the wondrous experiences that bind us together; "us" includes humans and non-human collaborators. Between Us develops relationships of mutual learning and respect between disciplines and species through multisensory artistic partnership. Aganetha cannot travel or have direct contact with bees, so from the start, we conceived Between Us as a "collaboration from a distance."
Over two "bee seasons," artists create and prepare artworks, with Aganetha’s guidance, to be altered by honeybees, while their contact with honeybees is supervised by experienced professional beekeepers. Under the nurturing attention of beekeepers, the bees will transform the objects placed in the hive, augmenting it with frills, bridging gaps and mending cracks with their golden wax. The surprises emerging from artists, bees, and beekeepers working together are essential to the creative outcomes of Between Us.
Curator Sandee Moore places still life compositions created by Artist George Glenn into a beehive at Hamilton Apiaries at the start of the Between Us pilot project in summer 2020.
The methods and materials employed by artists involved in the project Between Us are safe for bees. Precautions taken to avoid harming bees include educating the artists about materials and behaviours that may disturb bees. Opening the hive is limited to every two weeks at most. Artists and beekeepers consult regularly to respond to observed bee activities and improving artistic outcomes; they may relocate items from an unproductive hive, apply or remove wax sheets, or place frames near objects in the hive. Weather, predators, and honeybee health may all impact the bees’ comb-building activities and are carefully managed by the beekeepers.
Artists participating in Between Us were selected by a committee and represent the regions served by the AGR’s organizational partners – Estevan Art Gallery and Museum, Art Gallery of Swift Current, The Godfrey Dean Art Gallery (Yorkton), and The Mann Art Gallery (Prince Albert) – in the project.
Aganetha Dyck with artworks created with honeybee collaborators. Photo from the Winnipeg Free Press.
Aganetha, who became an artist while living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, has been creating artwork assisted by honeybees and beekeepers for over 20 years. She has meticulously developed and researched her methods by working closely with bees, beekeepers and entomologists, and building an understanding of honeybees as sentient and valued artistic collaborators.
The AGR’s ethics policy guides this project, as do the words of Aganetha Dyck: "I won't share all of my secrets because there are no secrets, only collaboration."
Artworks co-created by bees and artists will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Regina in the fall of 2023, afterward touring to other galleries throughout the province of Saskatchewan and beyond.
"Artist creates a buzz at Regina Culture Days with her honeybee collaborators" by Lynn Geisbrecht in the Regina Leader-Post, October 9, 2021.
October 16, 2021, Découvrir le monde des abielles lors de la fête de la culture, radio canada, Doris Labrie, https://ici.radio-canada.ca/ohdio/premiere/emissions/pour-faire-un-monde/segments/entrevue/375265/aganetha-dyck-culture-days-regina-abeilles
Aganetha Dyck online artist's talk, September 25
ABOUT AGANETHA DYCK
Dyck is one of Canada’s most successful contemporary artists internationally; she is particularly known for her collaborations with honeybees. Dyck’s Mennonite heritage and its emphasis on thrift is a source of inspiration for her artwork in which she commonly gives new life to broken and discarded items. Famously, she has reshaped wool sweaters into tiny, shrunken effigies, used family pickling recipes to preserve buttons from the sewing factory that occupied her studio before it was a space for artists and placed hand-crocheted doilies and broken porcelain figurines into beehives to be “mended” by the bees.
Dyck’s artworks reframe bees as conscious agents who are creative and multisensorial communicators. While empathy for these insects will not be new to beekeepers, Dyck’s artworks reveal possibilities for the public to dismiss their fear and instead experience empathy and caring for all pollinators.
Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson
Hanna moved from Japan to Saltcoats with her husband and children in 2011. Inspired by the prairie landscape and the quilt makers in her local community, she purchased a manual sewing machine and began making quilts and other textile art works that reflect the rich and nuanced local culture, blending imagery from rural Saskatchewan with the Japanese aesthetic qualities of wabi-sabi and mono-no-aware. The concept refers finding Happiness in life and the ephemeral nature of beauty, which is captured in her soothing and melancholy use of a neutral palette and the elegant simplicity of her patterns and stitches. Her approach creates a sense of peace and calm in the viewer while also stimulating a conversation between Japanese and Canadian cultures, forging an intimate connection between the two places. Her art is never negative but full of happiness within.
Kelly Litzenberger is a Saskatchewan born artist that works in LEGO and photography. He grew up skateboarding and listening to an eclectic record collection amongst a generation of farmers. Though determined to escape the prairies, it inadvertently shaped the sensibilities that dictate much of his work today.
Kelly is also the Director of MEEP Creative Agency in Yorkton, SK - a small design studio specializing in branding and marketing. Prior to forming MEEP he spent seven years working as an Editorial and Art Director for Canada’s longest running skateboard magazine in Vancouver, BC, as well as five years as a small business owner.
In 2018, Godfrey Dean Art Gallery in Yorkton, SK hosted Kelly’s first solo exhibition, Yorkton: LEGO City.
North Portal, SK
Last Birds is a Folk Americana duo from North Portal, Saskatchewan consisting of 2020 Canadian Folk Music Award nominees, Lindsay Arnold and Mike Davis. Keeping instrumentation minimal, Last Birds' songs hearken to the early days of country folk music whileexploring dilemmas of the modern world.Lindsay Arnold is a visual artist, filmmaker, songwriter and musician. Her paintings, drawings and videos exploring the female experience have beenexhibited internationally. MikeDavis is songwriter and musician. Heplays acoustic and electric guitar and has worked as professional musician since the age of 16.
schultz is an artist from the Canadian prairies currently based in Saskatchewan on Treaty 4 territory. schultz graduated from the University of Alberta in 2020 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design with a studio focus in Sculpture and Drawing/Intermedia. she also holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Visual Communications from the Medicine Hat College (2017).
her studio practice centers around an interest in an ostensible nature-culture divide mainly described through sculpture and drawing. she questions what is permeable and porous through materials that undergo transformations and forms that appear to be at once biological and geological to challenge the barriers that keep the respective binaries in their place asking the viewer to reconsider the interconnectivity and relativity of these concepts.
schultz has completed internships at Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, Minnesota, USA (2018) and at Salem Art Works in Salem, New York, USA (2019). she has been the recipient of two Edmonton Arts Council CIP Travel Grants (2018, 2019) and received an honourable mention from the International Sculpture Centre (ISC) for the Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award (2019).
Swift Current, SK
Tim Moore is a Métis Artist whose work revolves around identity within the Canadian postcolonial constructs. His artistic practice copes primarily with the stigma of being from a mixed Canadian heritage. Moore’s professional work wrestles with human social anxiety and how this shapes our individual and collective identities.
Moore’s work focuses on the Metis identity as well as contemporary Indigenous issues. His work shows in both solo and group exhibitions throughout Saskatchewan and across the country. In 2009 his work was included in the exhibition “Mind the Gap”. Organized by the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina Sk. This exposure led to his inclusion in “The Painting Project”. A survey of new painting trends in Canada, organized by Les Gallerie L’UQAM, Montreal and featured on the Virtual Museum of Canada website. Tim is also the chairperson for IPAC, The Indigenous Peoples Artists Collective of Prince Albert Inc. Moore has been shortlisted for numerous public art commissions and his work can be found in both public and private collections across Canada.
Sylvia Thompson is a multidisciplinary artist located in Southwest Saskatchewan. She works seasonally as a grader operator and spends her winters creating art in her church studio at Pennent Sk. Sylvia started in work carving but works within a variety of new and salvaged materials, focusing on sculpture. Her work captures the uncanny to a T; often strange or mysterious, unsettling with a touch of humour.
Sylvia is a lover of bees and honey but new to bee keeping.
Judy McNaughton & Nicole Charlebois-Rinas
Prince Albert, SK
Judy McNaughton is a cultural animateur and visual artist living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Throughout her career she has been socially motivated, which has manifested in cultural activism and socially engaged projects. Her programs strive to enrich our cultural ecosystem while highlighting the strengths and beauty that already exist. She serves on numerous panels, juries, boards and consultation, engagements both provincially and nationally. Her studio practice, including public installations and gallery exhibits, reconsiders notions of discrete separation between the things and beings in the world, and our corporeal connection to the things around us. She received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Regina and a Master of Fine Arts degree through Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Judy has been Northern Artistic Director with Common Weal since 2004.
Nicole Charlebois-Rinas is an educator and visual artist in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. She is a mixed media artist utilizing fiber, wax and traditional drawing media. Her work delves into ideas around fertility as it relates to existence. Her art is hopeful, from a feminine perspective as a woman, mother, teacher and wife of a farmer. She has participated in several group shows in Saskatchewan. Through community involvement and as an educator she has supported youth in their artistic discovery and journey. She received her bachelor of education and bachelor of fine arts from the University of Saskatchewan.
Prince Albert, SK
Denise Flaman is a visual artist and homemaker, and lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Her studies have led to observations of both practical life scenes and landscape. She is conscious of the beauty of the breaking down of life and all its things. She reflects those observations and the idea of the “held” moment with paint and drawing materials to emphasize composition, colour, and mark making.
Denise has studied drawing and painting at the University of Saskatchewan and has taken classes with the USCAD program. She has participated in group exhibitions at the John V. Hicks Gallery at the Prince Albert Arts Centre and the St. Thomas More Art Gallery in Saskatoon. For several years she has entered artwork into the Prince Albert Winter Festival Art Show and Sale, and has received the John V. Hicks Award, the Mayor’s Prize and Best of Show Award and the Art Placement Media Award for Accomplishments in Oil Painting. In 2016 the Mann Art Gallery of Prince Albert purchased her painting for their permanent collection. Her involvement in Between Us will be her first collaborative art experience.
Jeff Meldrum is a builder, creator, musician and occasional wilderness dweller whose work seeks to better understand our place in the world, through the observation of non-human animals. Meldrum’s work often uses humour and satire to diminish the self-congratulatory preeminence of the human species, its innumerable grand experiments and the mythologies it constructs. He works through an intermedia lens, engaging with photography, sculpture and performance. Living and working in Treaty 4 and 6 Territory in Saskatchewan has instilled in him a strong connection to the land which has prompted inquiries into animal-human relationships, and wild animal cognition through sculptural interventions in the landscape.
Melanie Monique Rose
Melanie Monique Rose is a visual artist from Regina, Saskatchewan Treaty 4 Territory, and a long-time contributing member of Sâkêwêwak Artists’ Collective Inc. She attended Kootenay School of the Arts with a major in the Fibre Arts in Nelson, B.C. Rose has exhibited her artwork in both group and solo exhibitions Nationally. Her greatest honor was to receive the distinction of Excellence in Textiles in Dimension's 2013 touring show. Most recently, Melanie was named a CBC Future 40 for her work in arts and culture. In addition to showing her work, Rose has worked in the province as gallery facilitator, story-keeper, and art instructor for the Mackenzie Art Gallery and in addition teaches various workshops at both public and private institutions.
In 2018 her daughter Meadow Rose was born and is currently a full-time mom, caregiver, and artist. Becoming a mother has increased Rose’s desire to share the stories of her culture and family and has challenged the way she creates independently and as a shared experience with her daughter. Rose is inspired and excited to see where the journey takes her as an Artist.
Prince Albert, SK
George Glenn is a contemporary artist who has lived and created his artwork in Prince Albert since 1975. Glenn earned a BFA from the University of Manitoba in 1970 and went on to earn an MFA from the University of Cincinnati in 1974. Primarily a painter, he has worked collaboratively with other artists in diverse media. His work has been exhibited widely throughout Western Canada. He was artist-in-residence at the Prince Albert Arts Council until 1978, taught at the Prince Albert Regional Community College and the University of Saskatchewan, and was a research officer at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Prince Albert. Glenn bears the distinction of being Aganetha Dyck's first art teacher; he created several still life compositions to be altered by bees during the Between Us pilot project in summer 2020.
Andrew Hamilton, Hamilton Apiaries
Louise Yates, Living Sky Honey
The bees and Louise Yates from Living Sky Honey produce artisanal honey at their acreage east of Regina. Their micro Honey House, the building where only honey is extracted, is Safe Food For Canadians licensed and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspected, and is 100 percent solar powered. Their honey has been a finalist in the World' Best Tasting Honey Competition.
Nicole Charlebois-Rinas, Sandhills Honey
Sand Hills Honey has been running as a commercial honey operation with Bee Maid since 2008. Owner operator Jason Rinas has been bee keeping since 1990. Nicole joined him when they were married in 2009. Together Jason and Nicole run their bees along with their cattle operation south of Shellbrook.
Kevin & Brenda Epp, Prairie Field Honey
Joe Kletchko, St. Joseph's Honey
Sasha Howland, Howland's Honey
Stan and Tricia Reed, Reeds Bees
Sarah is the owner/operator of Charlee Honey and Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words. After years of making jokes that she would take up a strange hobby like beekeeping when she retired, Sarah Simison began reading books on the subject and started a mentorship under a local beekeeper. Despite it being long before retirement age, Sarah took up the hobby and Charlee Honey was founded in 2011. Sarah lives in Moose Jaw but her bees live happily on her farm, Sundog Expanse, between Mossbank and Old Wives Lake.
Work created by beekeeper Louise Yates and her honeybees with guidance from Aganetha Dyck during the Between Us pilot project in summer 2020.
Beekeeper Louise Yates with her beehives.
Beekeeper Sarah Simison with her honeybees.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. The Art Gallery of Regina received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts’ Arts Across Canada Public Outreach component to fund Between Us.
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.
The AGR thanks its partner galleries, funders and Geoff Wilson, Provincial Apiculture Specialist.
We are also grateful to the artists, beekeepers and bees who participated in the AGR’s self-funded pilot project (that became Between Us) in summer 2020, from which we gained valuable insights and developed productive working methods: Aganetha Dyck (artist), Andrew Hamilton (beekeeper), George Glenn (artist and Aganetha Dyck's first art instructor) and Louise Yates (beekeeper).