“In the face of nature, disasters, wars, we are just as small as bees and ants. We are just as vulnerable.

Born 1975, Linchuan, Yunnan

Zhang Tian draws his inspiration from “the gifts of nature”, he says, specifically the insect world. “I don’t think man is necessarily superior to other creatures,” he explains. “Bees don’t know mathematics or physics, yet they build hives that are perfectly symmetrical and very beautiful.” Using traditional handmade parchment, papier-mâché from old newspapers, cow and horse dung, Zhang Tian follows the bees’ teachings. On wire frames, he painstakingly crafts honeycombs in whose backlit cells he sets images of people “to present the many different faces of mankind [trapped] in the awkward predicaments of life.” “We humans have a lot in common with bees,” the artist observes. “Only our life span is a little bit longer.”

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