Guerlain’s intimate affinity with art and women is an integral part of the Maison’s heritage, present and future. Guerlain has always invited artists to join the Maison in expressing their creativity and has long engaged in promoting a modern, empowered image of women. Guerlain instantly felt a strong connection with the work of photographer Charlotte Abramow and asked her to organize her own exhibition, entitled Piquées.
This initiative falls within the broader scope of Guerlain’s “Women for Bees” program in partnership with UNESCO and in collaboration with the Observatoire Français d’Apidologie (OFA, the French bee observatory). This initiative supports women beekeepers and the essential role played by bees for humanity as pollinators. In adding the “Women for Art” initiative to this effort, Guerlain underlines a commitment to supporting art engaged in protecting biodiversity. This is a long-term commitment for Guerlain, and the Piquées exhibition spotlights these different actions, offering a vision that is both singular and insightful.
Art and commitment are embedded in the history of Guerlain, which has always nurtured close relations with artists and artisans. A range of exhibitions and philanthropy programs drive the emergence of an artistic ethos that embodies and promotes the Maison’s values. The exhibition of work by Belgian filmmaker and photographer Charlotte Abramow is being inaugurated on April 22, in conjunction with Earth Day 2022. She engaged with women beekeepers in the “Women for Bees” program, which is sponsored by Angelina Jolie. Participants have acquired both the theoretical and practical beekeeping knowledge needed to create and manage sustainable beekeeping operations. Charlotte Abramow photographed seven of these women to showcase their remarkable efforts.
The photographer is recognized for her poetic and metaphorical takes on humanity in her practice. Here, she says she was moved by this encounter with a true sisterhood, “women who have forged close ties with one another”. There is, Charlotte Abramow notes, “a parallel in the relationships between a group of women and a group of bees, both serving nature, balance and the renewal of life.”
Her photographs celebrate this powerful and omnipresent link, something that is almost matriarchal, bonding the women. The artist also did delicate embroidery on some of her prints. Bees and gilded threads punctuate the photos, materializing this invisible yet palpable bond that grew throughout the training followed by the women. The embroidering needle also becomes a metaphor of the equally minute work done by bees.
The symbolic choice of this artistic work reaffirms Guerlain’s commitment to heightening public awareness of the importance of protecting these fragile ecosystems, coupled with support for women’s empowerment. Nature inspires Guerlain to act “In the Name of Beauty” through an array of initiatives alongside artists, non-profits and other LVMH Maisons to achieve a more beautiful and sustainable world, symbolizing the role of the bee as a sentinel of the environment.
The exhibition will also give voice to inspiring women – beekeepers, scientists, prominent personalities engaged in efforts to protect bees – during a cycle of three round tables that will be streamed live on May 19, June 23 and July 21.
“The links we are creating today through the ‘Women for Art’ initiative fuse art and Guerlain’s commitment to women’s empowerment through beekeeping,” says Guerlain Director of Sustainability Cécile Lochard. “These relationships are absolutely essential and all the more striking with their interpretation by a woman artist. Artists have a fundamental role to play in accelerating change. They champion a positive vision of tomorrow’s world and actions that inspire changes in habits, both indispensable levers for a more sustainable future.”