A Growing Enquiry – Art & Agriculture, reconciling values

Friday 18 February – Sunday 24 April 2022
Laura Fitzgerald | A Growing Enquiry – Art & Agriculture, reconciling values | Friday 18 February – Sunday 24 April 2022 | Royal Hibernian Academy

Orla Barry, Laura Fitzgerald, Jane Locke, Maria McKinney, Miriam O’Connor, Anna Rackard, Katie Watchorn

This exhibition combines seven artists that posit questions about how we create our value systems around art and agriculture.

Food, and its production is intrinsically linked to the sustainability and survival of our species on the planet. Interestingly and significantly, the artists represented in this exhibition are all female. This in and of itself poses an important question as to why a traditionally male space is currently being documented and interrogated so widely amongst female artists in Ireland.

Globally, the UN works to integrate gender issues in food security, agriculture and rural development. Gender inequalities in access to productive resources (land, labour, fertilizer, credit, technology, extension and markets) are all recognised as negatively affecting food availability and food security[1]. This indicates some interesting speculations as to why farming and food production remain gendered and how this particular gender rebalancing may highlight alternative approaches to the practice both artistically and agriculturally.

Two of the six artists contributing are currently also working farmers. Orla Barry runs a pedigree flock on the south Wexford coast, while Miriam O’Connor runs a mixed stock farm near Macroom, County Cork.

One of the newly commissioned works by Barry is a collaboration with Bristol based composer, improviser, and sessioneer Paul Bradley. Primal Counterpoint uses everyday farm experience to play with ideas of how human and animal physicality intersect in a rough song sequence.

O’Connor, a photographer, who returned to co-run the farm with her sister following a family bereavement in recent years, concentrates on the daily routines and demands of caring for animals.

Laura Fitzgerald and Katie Watchorn come from farming families and probe issues of values between the skill and talent of their farming fathers and the currency of skill and talent in the art world. How does one reconcile and cherish both? Anna Rackard, a photographer, creates portraits of women farmers, redressing the common notion that farming is a male preserve.

Maria McKinney, and Jane Locke opt to explore the science and science fiction of food production, from the manipulation of genomes to create higher yielding cattle to a 22nd Century speculation of micro-farming in a farmerless world.

[1] UN Joint Programmes report: Integrating gender issues in food security, agriculture and rural development. See report HERE.

Additional Events

Performance: Samantha Brown: Lying Fallow, 12pm Saturday 19 February. Book HERE

Conversation: Excursions toward Some Dangerous Unknown – Future Farming, 5.30pm Wednesday 2 March. Book HERE

Conversation: Maria McKinney, Anna Rackard, and Katie Watchorn, in-conversation with Writer and Curator Ciara Healy, 5.30pm Wednesday 23 March. Book HERE

RHA Friends: Director’s Tour of A Growing Enquiry – Art & Agriculture, reconciling values. RHA Friends Book HERE

Artist Bio








Image: Laura Fitzgerald
Friday 18 February – Sunday 24 April 2022
Royal Hibernian Academy
15 Ely Place, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 1 661 2558
Opening hours / start times:
Monday 11:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 11:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 19:00
Thursday 11:00 - 19:00
Friday 11:00 - 19:00
Saturday 11:00 - 19:00
Sunday 14:00 - 17:00
Admission / price: Free

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