Curated by Hollie Kearns
Sustainment Experiments was an exhibition and public engagement project at Butler Gallery that responded to the urgent need for a multidisciplinary approach to food production, farming and climate crisis. The exhibition took place in the aftermath of a feast for an invited audience of farmers, scientists and policymakers which took place in the gallery in early October. A handmade dinner service and provocative menu encouraged diners to think about soil health and food production. The feast is modelled on an 18th century feast hosted by French scientist, Antoine Augustin Parmentier who worked to address food security and public health problems by changing public attitudes towards the potato, believed at the time to be unfit for human consumption.
The gallery was installed with the dinner service, wall hangings by Deirdre O’Mahony, costumes made by Bog Cottage Collective, and embroidered texts by Sadhbh Gaston.
Feeder in the Learning Centre at Butler Gallery gave viewers a chance to read about soil health and food production. This exhibition was accompanied by a screening of Speculative Optimism at the Digital Gallery, a film which tells the story of sainfoin, a sustainable alternative to rye grass for animal fodder.
The exhibition is part of The Soil Project, an annual artists commission at Butler Gallery.
About the Artist
Deirdre O’Mahony is a visual artist whose practice is informed by a deep interest in rural sustainability, farming, food security and rural/urban relationships. For more than two decades she has investigated the political ecology of rural places through public engagement, archival and moving image installation, critical writing and cultural production.