Culture is a powerful conduit for public engagement, with artists, cultural and creative practitioners historically playing a crucial role in social and political transitions. Many forms of cultural expression seek to address the complexity and confront challenges in ways that are provocative and engaging, often opening up dialogue and engagement with and about new social and political contexts and using creative forms of critical inquiry.
Together, these works bring art out of the gallery, into rural Ireland, linking creative response to climate change with practical mitigation ideas.
Deirdre O Mahony | Model Plot
Model Plot at Brookfield Farm, Deirdre O' Mahony in collaboration with the Loy Association of Ireland - Image Miriam O' Connor
MODEL PLOT is a sculptural planting of herb and forage crops framed by potato ridges on Brookfield Farm, County Tipperary. The project looks to the potato ridge, born out of the need for food security in Ireland's past, and forward to herb and forage crops that point the way to climate resilience in farming. Deirdre O'Mahony is collaborating with the Loy Association of Ireland on the planting. Previous projects with the group include A Village Plot at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and The PLOT, at VISUAL, Carlow.
Interlocking potato ridges will enclose diamond-shaped plantings of sainfoin, vetch, birds-foot trefoil and phacelia. Each plant variety has a practical value for farmers and benefits the environment. Sainfoin is a crop once used widely as animal fodder in Europe. It grows in drought conditions, fixes nitrogen in the soil, reduces methane emissions, and has anti-parasitic properties. Furthermore, bees love it, and it will support Brookfield Farm's beehives. Vetch fixes nitrogen, forms good soil cover and attracts bees. Phacelia has beautiful scented purple/blue flowers with dense fern-like foliage. It smothers weeds and has an extensive root system that improves the soil structure and is highly attractive to honey bees, bumblebees, and hoverflies, all valuable pollinators. Birds-foot trefoil fixes nitrogen, and its flowers provide a vital nectar source to long-tongued species of moth, butterfly and bumblebee. These crops can help farmers by reducing dependence on artificial fertilisers and supporting biodiversity above and below the soil.
John Gerrard | Corn Work (Corrib) 2020
Corn Work (Corrib) 2020 at Galway International Arts Festival 2020
John Gerrard presents a new and intimate iteration of Corn Work (Corrib) 2020. In Corn Work four local folk figures, the Straw Boys, remade virtually, perform a symbolic wheel of production. Changing with the seasons, the figures dance alongside and in dialogue with a virtual portrait of the River Corrib which once provided energy for flour mills in Galway city. Straw used in the original production was grown on Brookfield Farm and other sites. Corn Work will be viewable by the lakeshore through a digital augmentation of the landscape and can be accessed using a QR code. The work is physically present in the farm barn and available to visit during the public guided tour days. The work is imagined as an active participant in the twelve Exchanges.
Corn Work (Corrib) 2020 was originally commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture.