By Hazel Last edited 156 months ago

You see an enormous, hairy-legged bug land on your desk. It seems sluggish and is moving lazily. Do you:

a) roll up your newspaper and swat it as quickly and violently as you can

b) trap the bug under a glass and release it back into the wild in a vegetarian, tree-hugging way

c) whip out your camera to take a picture of the thing then enter the results into the First International Arts Pestival

We must admit that a) is most instinctive reaction, b) only occurs when we feel a particular need to protect our karma and c) is just frankly weird and what the hell is a Pestival anyway? Well, keep your camera close to hand ... The First International Arts Pestival is the first ever festival in the world that is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance and integral role of insects in our ecosystem.

From 27th May to 4th June, the London Wetland Centre in Barnes will host a series of events ranging across talks, art and installations, music, sounds, film and photography all dedicated to insects, their importance to the world as we know it and the consequences of endangering key species - all through art and creative endeavours.

Through appreciation of “insects in art and the art of being an insect”, the Pestival aims to create positive PR for this 400-million-year-old, highly evolved taxon that has had thousands of years of bad press.

Among the many things lined up for this creepy-crawly publicity stunt is the Pestival Photo Competition: digital and print entries will be accepted, as long as the entries show insect life and reflects the Pestival theme of "insects in art, and the art of being an insect." The competition will be judged by George Duffield, winner of the 2005 Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

Anyone who has failed to keep flies away from a picnic, tried to sleep with a mosquito in the same room, or attempted to remain calm when wasps land on your arm will tell you it is obvious that insects rule. Pestival shows you what that looks like from the insects many-eyed view.

The First International Pestival is at the Wetlands Centre in Barnes, 27th May to 4th June. For more information on events, and how to enter the photo competition can be found here.

Last Updated 07 March 2006