The stories behind the metaphor-packed mural “MesoAmerica Resiste” — a critique on the impact of globalization on indigenous peoples — are as intricate as the mural’s carefully etched drawings.
On Sunday afternoon, The Beehive Design Collective, a Maine-based group of artists and activists, presented “MesoAmerica Resiste,” the third installment in a series focused on free trade, militarization and globalization, at the Wellfleet Preservation Hall in Massachusetts.
Local political activist Kristin Knowles arranged for the collective to present the mural, which was originally inked on paper and then copied onto recyclable material for transport.
“MesoAmerica Resiste,” which took more than nine years to create and was worked on by more than 20 artists, focuses specifically on globalization from central Mexico through Central America. It depicts indigenous peoples’ stories gathered by collective members — all known by their first names and the last name “Bee” — who visited the area to conduct interviews with community groups and individuals.
“[Globalization] has displaced a lot of people there and caused massive devastation to the ecosystem,” said Emma Bee, a member of the collective and an activist.
The collective, which was originally formed as a stone mosaic project in 2000, aims to “cross-pollinate the grass roots,” and the goal of “MesoAmerica Resiste” is “to amplify the voices telling these different stories,” Emma said.
While Emma said people have “all different responses” to the murals, she believes “audiences all over the world can relate to it.”
Upon completion of a mural, the collective, comprising entirely volunteers, tours the United States and presents its work along with an explanation of the inspiration behind it.
“It does help greatly to have these ‘worker bees’ explaining in great detail,” said Barbara Britton of Eastham.
She missed the collective’s two-hour presentation but received an overview while admiring the mural with her friend, Naomi Zurcher of Lucerne, Switzerland.
“I like the idea that they used animals so you don’t get into any predetermined ideas about who’s important and who isn’t,” said Zurcher, referring to the murals’ depiction of people as ants, bees and other insects and animals.
The mural depicts more than 400 species of indigenous animals and more than 100 types of native plants, Emma said.
The collective receives donations from individuals and groups and sells prints of its murals, the money from which is used to fund research trips and, recently, to restore a community hall in Machias where the group is based.
“We needed a space to do this work in and organize in,” Emma said.
The collective does not do fundraising for the communities it visits because it is “not a charity,” but it donates posters to the communities so they can be used as organizing tools, Emma said.
“We’re looking to make a connection with people,” Emma said, “and spread global communities.”
Distributed by MCT Information Services