Nine years ago, the Beehive Collective began working on their latest collaborative illustration, Mesoamérica Resiste. The hand-inked mural is the final installment of the anonymous, all-volunteer group's trilogy documenting the negative impacts of the corporate-led globalization in the Americas and local efforts to resist it. They began working on the set over 13 years ago with their Free Trade Area of the Americas and Plan Colombia projects.
To research Mesoamérica Resiste, Beehive members spent five months in 2004 trekking through Mexico down to Panama, talking with activists and residents about their first-hand experiences with free trade and mega-infrastructure projects. From there, the collaborative design process got underway with a pencil sketch that was followed by the final inking which was completed in 2013.
In order to fund the printing of a Mesoamérica Resiste poster, the Beehive took to Kickstarter with what turned out to be a modest goal of $36,000. After nearly 3,000 supporters chipped in, they had raised over $117,000 when the campaign ended on December 10.
As with all of their projects, Mesoamérica Resiste is a Creative Commons work distributed to various groups and intended as an educational organizing tool. The Beehive does all of the "cross-pollinating" themselves through in-person interactions and their webstore, with an aim of returning half of the printed pieces to the communities represented in and affected by the subject at hand.
The Beehive's turning of oral history-in-the-making into an intricate visual representation brings the shared reality of globalization to life. Perhaps more importantly is the message that their collaborative process and collective identity sends -- that another more fair and fun way of organizing our society is possible. The beautiful results speak for volumes for the power of solidarity.