Kathrine Geoghegan Ireland
I'm a painter living & working in County Kildare, Ireland. I feature native Irish plants in my work. I'm not that kind of a botanical artist that works to a strict scientific discipline. Rather I describe the beautiful forms and colours of these plants to convey an emotion or a message. My aim is to capture the essence of these plants within their natural environment.
My current work concerns itself with the crash in the bee population. Bees have sustained farming practices for 4500 years and are the most important pollinator of crops and native species. Three quarters of our wild plants rely on insects for pollination, and bees are most important. Crops such as apples, strawberries and tomatoes are reliant on bees.
Without bees, farming practices would have to change dramatically. Hand-pollination by humans would become necessary and lead to increases in food prices. Our bees are among the most hardworking and undervalued contributors to agriculture.
Bees are extremely sensitive to pesticide use. They are also losing habitat. Through my work I wish to draw attention to this and to encourage bee-friendly farming practices. We are fortunate that many of our farmers manage hedgerows well and leave space for wild plants to thrive. Could farmers be incentivised to leave larger bee-friendly areas? Landowners and householders in urban areas can also help by leaving spaces for wild plants to flourish, and by planting flowers. Could our governments lobby for a cut in pesticide use? Can they afford not to?
I have walked the crop fields around my home in Kildare and observed the wild plants growing on their borders. These plants would not survive without bees and our world would lose colour. The success of our wild plants is an indication of the vibrancy of our bee populations. My paintings feature these plants. Through the beauty of their form and colour, I wish to convey a sober message.