By Liz Skelton

The colour design of The Bee-Holder reflects an appreciation and recognition of the bee as an identity in our society today. Although celebrated as a symbol of Manchester, the slow decline of the bee across the globe presents a break in the chain of existence – seeming so small in significance, that the issue is yet to emerge from the shadows.

Bringing this to the forefront of the narrative, The Bee-Holder stands as a solid black silhouette against the backdrop of the city. The all-black appearance represents the absence of the bee, and intentionally aims to blur out the personality and presence of the creature. To make this a realisation, Cundall Light4 selected Black 2.0 – an advanced paint formula by British artist Stuart Semple.

Black 2.0 features a blend of pigments to achieve an ultra-matte, super-flat acrylic paint, with light-absorbing technology. Soaking up the daylight enables the indentation and detail of the form to be lost into a smooth 2D-effect; and the lightfast nature of the solution allows the dark appearance of The Bee-Holder to be preserved.

Providing a visual contrast; deep blue and purple bursts of colour run alongside the black tones – depicting the vision of the world from a bee’s perspective. With specific UV receptors, they can discern shades of the ultra-violet spectrum as well as secret patterns invisible to the human eye.

To generate a connection to the people of Manchester, the eyes of The Bee-Holder stand out in a striking chrome finish. The notion of reflection; both physically in the mirrored eyes of the sculpture, and emotionally as a contemplative experience enables our relationship with the bee to be questioned – and allows us to see ourselves as the essence of the city.

Follow the journey on Instagram –

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Lighting Design, Liz Skelton


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