As part of the new Meat and Potatoes Exhibition at the Crawford Art Gallery, artist Lisa Fingleton was commissioned to recreate The Sandwich Project. The Sandwich project traces the journey of a BLT sandwich through the ingredients. Watch the timelapse HERE. 

Artist Lisa Fingleton lives on a farm in Kerry and grows most of her own food. In 2018, she was hungry while installing an exhibition. She 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 these ingredients come from.

According to the artist “It felt like this sandwich connected me to so many places, people, plants and animals from all over the planet. I started to think about the energy needed to bring this sandwich to me; all the electricity, fuel and water needed. I had been to Borneo and seen the destruction of the rainforest with palm oil plantations and here was palm oil in my sandwich”.

Lisa started to draw the journey of the sandwich and all the different processes involved. She also started facilitating workshops and conversations with community groups. “I love food and hope the sandwich project encourages people to have a better appreciation of clean, healthy food. 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 foods. This year in particular in Europe we are seeing the impact of war on food and the global reliance on Ukraine as an important wheat producer”.

The artist drew for two days on the walls of the gallery to coincide with the opening of the exhibition, She was very conscious of the worsening food situation as she drew in terms of climate change, the war in Ukraine, Covid and Brexit. The project raises lots of questions for the viewer:

  • How far does your sandwich travel before it reaches you?
  • How many ingredients make up your average sandwich?
  • How much of your sandwich is made up of ‘real food’ and how much it is manufactured ingredients, made to taste like ‘real food’?
  • How many planes, boats and trucks are involved?
  • How many women, men and children are involved in picking vegetables and minding animals around the world?
  • What conditions do the animals live in?
  • Is there really such a thing as ‘cheap food’?
  • How can we become more resilient in the face of climate change?

The Sandwich Project is featured in Lisa’s Book The Local Food Project. This is available to purchase in the Crawford Art Gallery Bookshop and HERE on the website.