Bees are in serious decline in the UK and across the world. Other pollinators such as hoverflies, moths and butterflies are also in trouble – since 2000 British butterflies have declined by 58% and over 75% of Europe’s insect population has been lost in the last 30 years. The biggest single threat to pollinating insects is intensive farming: its vast monocultures have shrunk pollinators’ foraging habitats, while heavy reliance on pesticides has a devastating impact on their health. Meanwhile, home and garden stores sell a wide range of pesticides for use by amateur gardeners that are toxic to bees.
In Swarm artists Anna Alcock, Hannah Ford, Miyuki Kasahara, Alke Schmidt and Sandie Sutton respond to this crisis with new work that draws on the latest research into the causes of the alarming decline of pollinators. Featuring painting, printmaking, textiles, sculpture and installation, the exhibition is both a call to arms and a celebration of these wondrous and hard-working insects that are so vital to our food security. With Swarm, the artists share with us their enthusiasm for our pollinating insects and aim to inspire us to protect them.