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Exhibition – Be:e Bon Odori

Installation   9-3'x3'x3' wood + wire frames; 12"x18" 4-color Letterpress gold tissue.

Be:e  Homage to the Honey Bee  |  Sept 2012 - Aug 2013  La Porte Peinte Center – Noyers Sur Serein, France

Be:e Bon Odori was conceived as a celebration of the honeybee through the tradition of the Bon Odori festival from my Japanese/ Buddhist heritage. The installation, that was part of a group exhibition – Be:e, at La Porte Peinte Center, was composed of 144 gold sheets, letterpress printed with wood type and etching of the honey bee, hanging from nine 3'x3' wood and wire frames. Also included were letterpressed bee themed uchiwa, Japanese round fan, and printed cardboard boxes made into a three stringed shamisen, tuned to the frequency of the bee.


Michelle Anderson, Director

     La Porte Peinte Center

Rod DeWeese

     Celery Design

Derek Fukumori

Naomi Fukumori

Julie Holcomb

Gwenhäel Jacq

Dorian Saintier

Marco Vignuzzi

THERE IS A RELATIONSHIP between the dance language of the honeybee and how we can communicate beyond the syntax of words. When the forager Bee discovers a source of nectar, they return to the hive to share a taste of their find and perform a “waggle” or “circle dance” that conveys to their nest-mates exactly which direction and where they have found a good source of food. The dancing bee emits a frequency that is integral to its communication mechanism. This dance is a performance of life’s sustenance. It is an example that there is an inherent truth in the language of the universe that nurtures our existence. When in alignment with that truth there is a natural flow to living.


THE BON ODORI s a summer festival originating in Japan, rooted in Buddhist tradition, that honors the spirit of ancestors. The community gathers at their local temple to line-up and dance in a large circle around a center stage (yagura) where musicians perform folk songs. This tradition was brought to new homelands where the generation of my grandparents, the “issei,” emigrated. Every year I look forward to the Obon festival in my hometown of Berkeley, California. I find dancing in syncopation with a community of family and friends, of all ages, is a unique opportunity
to move together in unison and
be in the flow of continuity. 
Where the honey bee's instinctive waggle/circle dance communicates a source of food sustenance, the Bon Odori is a circle dance that sustains a celebration of family, community and life – past, present and future... nrf

Coincidence or Resonance...?

On June 7, 2013 (9 months to the day of the opening) a swarm of bees appeared in the gallery, amid the Bon Odori installation. Following is the email from Michelle Anderson, Director of La Porte Peinte Center:

“OK, you will not believe this. I walked into the gallery (Noreen, your installation room) and heard the unmistakable sound of bees. My brain said, “oh, there's new bee art” in a kind of off-handed and irrational way. What?! And then I looked and saw the windows and walls of the room were full of real bees. Everywhere. We have a swarm. They are clustering all over the windows just outside that space and coming in through cracks in the wood. Noreen, you called the bees and the bees came! Your installation is buzzing with real bees. The sound is loud.The ex-mayor came by when I was checking out the swarm outside and said “this is proof of the power of art”. Bernard came by and started laughing. So now we have to bring Callou the beekeeper over to see what can be done. Maybe he can guide the bees to a new home. Otherwise, we will have to close the gallery and let the bees have it.”  M.D.A.


Lingering bees from the swarm at La Porte Peinte gallery, 

June 7, 2013

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