The Persistent Return. Photo: Tom Flannagan

Nothing like Meat and Potatoes

A new exhibition in Crawford Art Gallery this summer focuses on plain fare.

Meat and Potatoes opens across two floors and promises to be thought provoking. Using contemporary and historical works, everything is linked by food and this exhibition features an extensive programme of accompanying events and opened last Friday. It runs until 6 November.

Meat and Potatoes features an abundance of food-related artworks produced over the last four centuries, ranging from still life to video works and installations which consider the politics and concerns that have shaped perspectives on food right up to the present day.

This exhibition draws particular inspiration from the staples of meat, potatoes and bread in the history of food-focused art and our personal diets throughout the ages.

Works drawn from Crawford Art Gallery’s own collection find a new context when exhibited beside artworks borrowed from other collections. Work from the Sire Series by Maria McKinney are exhibited for the first time in Cork.

The artist’s photographs of bulls adorned with insemination straw sculptures look at the use of genomics in modern cattle breeding, an invitation to visitors to think critically about the impact of human intervention on the natural world.

In addition to the diverse artworks included in Meat and Potatoes, Crawford Art Gallery has commissioned a series of texts. One of the texts commissioned for the exhibition by Cristín Leach, (Irish radio and television presenter, journalist, and art critic) comments that “potatoes are a provocative symbol of more than just food in Ireland. Deirdre O’Mahony’s ‘The Persistent Return’ is a film exploration of the political implications of reliance on this particular foodstuff, globally and locally.”

Recent worldwide events have again highlighted how fragile the global food supply chains can be, as shown in Abigail O’Brien prescient artwork ‘With Bread’ also featuring in the exhibition.

Monika Crowley’s bold graphic style series ‘Domestic’ also featuring is evocative of rite of passages and tradition passed on from mother to daughter whilst also hinting at the demands of providing for a family.

To accompany the exhibition, Crawford Art Gallery will offer an extensive programme of food related events throughout the summer and early autumn. Visitors can avail of talks, tours and some surprising activities such as potato growing, creating edible art and viewing Crawford Collection inspired biscuits to name a few.

Further details on the programme of events created in collaboration with the Gallery’s Learn and Explore team and local and international artists, horticulture and food experts can be seen on as they become available.