Minister Catherine Martin announced the acquisition of over 100 works of contemporary art to the National Collection. Speaking today, Minister Martin said “It is critical that our National Collection speak to Irish audiences about the issues that matter now. This significant investment in acquisitions at IMMA and the Crawford delivers on that need and strengthens the holdings of both institutions. It is heartening to see generations of artists finally find their home in the Collection and to see the complexity and diversity of our nation reflected in these exciting works.”

The National Collection have purchased 3 works by artist Lisa Fingleton:

  • The Sandwich Project, 2018, ink on fabriano paper
  • Beware of the Toxic Mist, 2018, watercolour on paper (series of 5 paintings)
  • Revenge of the Killer Bee, 2019, watercolour on paper

All of these important works reflect contemporary concerns about food, farming, climate change and biodiversity loss. She says “I am really delighted to have my work included in the National Collection. Much of my work reflects contemporary concerns about protecting food and ecosystems for future generations to come. I am really happy to have my work in the collection for the children of the future and hope it will continue to resonate with them as they deal with challenges relating to climate change and biodiversity”.


The Sandwich Project is a significant Irish art work, sparking the public imagination to reconsider food systems and has been featured the TV series Food Matters as well as National Radio shows. Through the simple act of drawing, the work explores the complex journey of a BLT sandwich.

The artist picked up a BLT sandwich in a petrol station and while she was eating, she read the packaging. She couldn’t believe that there were over 40 ingredients listed including such things as Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, xanthum gum, emulsifier and stabilisers. She started to think about the journey of a sandwich and where all the ingredients come from, and so began The Sandwich Project.

Lisa’s hope is that the sandwich project encourages people to have a better appreciation of clean, healthy food and to understand that there really is no such thing as ‘cheap’ food. Someone, somewhere is paying the price in terms of poor conditions for workers, crowded conditions for battery hens or health implications for the consumers of processed food.

Beware of the Toxic Mist (2018)  features a young girl trying to grow food in an increasingly challenging environment.  Many of our crops and plants are reliant on bees for pollination. Fingeton’s work references some of the possible causes, such as pesticides, affecting the decline of our bee populations and the importance of protecting these vital pollinators to ensure stable food production.

Revenge of the Killer Bee (2018) illustrates what might happen when the bees have had enough and decide to get their own back. Her humorous and playful works deliver underlying critical environmental concerns and invite us to consider the harmful effects of industrialised agricultural systems on our biodiversity.

About the Artist

Lisa Fingleton is an artist, filmmaker, writer and grower who has spent over twenty years cultivating deep-rooted connections between art, food and farming. She is the lead artist in two of the large scale Creative Climate Action Projects including A Creative Imagining with Dingle Farmers and the upcoming Brilliant Ballybunion.

Grounded on a nineteen acre organic farm and native woodland near Ballybunion, Co Kerry, she and her partner run a project called The Barna Way. From here they engage with the diverse community groups through social farming and live food and cultural events, while protecting habitats for wildlife. This seventeen year project is propelled by an accelerated sense of urgency around food insecurity, climate crisis, biodiversity loss and forced migration.


More Information about the Acquisition (From the Department Press release):

The new works include painting, sculpture, photography, installation, works on paper, digital media works and textiles, by both Irish and international artists. The acquisitions, which encompass pressing issues including climate change, diversity and global migration, will ensure that seminal artists previously missing from the National Collection are now represented. This investment builds upon the €1m fund provided to Crawford Art Gallery and IMMA in 2020 for the acquisition of artworks to support Irish artists during the COVID-19 pandemic

Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Annie Fletcher, stated:

“The impact of this acquisitions funding cannot be underestimated. It has re-focused and reinvigorated the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s resolute determination to build a vital, accessible and ambitious world class Collection for Ireland. We recognise and sincerely thank Minister Martin’s commitment to the arts and for her Department’s support in realising these strategic aims with our valued colleagues in the Crawford Art Gallery. This important injection of funding matches our ambitions and commitment to make IMMA a significant site and resource of Irish and international artwork for the Irish public now and into the future.”  

Director of the Crawford Art Gallery, Mary McCarthy, said:

“We are deeply appreciative of the Minister and her Department’s support of Crawford Art Gallery to expand our Collection at this key time. The works acquired breathe new energy into our Collection and will ensure that new conversations through the artworks can continue to be made across the centuries. It provides much needed support for artists and galleries as well as providing the public with an opportunity to see these works in context with the wider National Collection. The collaboration with IMMA has been significant and one that we will sustain into the future.


Link to Press Release: Department of Arts

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