The Persistent Return  

VISUAL Carlow.  June 6 - September 9 2018.

An art film installation commissioned by Workhouse Union co-produced in partnership with VISUAL Carlow.

The potato is a potent image to evoke in relation to food and food security revealing conscious and unconscious attitudes to land and otherness, both in Ireland and beyond. O'Mahony's film presents a poetic understanding of the potatoes' cultural and economic role in our histories, and reminds us that real sustainability lies in our capacity to provide for ourselves.

Funded through an Arts Council Visual Arts Project Award, commissioned by Workhouse Union as part of Workhouse Guild with additional support from Culture Ireland, VISUAL Carlow, Leeuwarden Capital of Culture 2018 and the residency programme of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Perishable Picnic, Peig McManus Performance, Photograph Brian Cregan 2017.
  1. The Perishable Picnic was the outcome of Deirdre O’Mahony’s residency in Lynders’ Mobile Home Park, Portrane County Dublin for Fingal Arts Office’s Resort Residency and celebrated the history of fruit growing in North County Dublin. A giant ceramic, strawberry jam pot made by Glasgow-based artist Garnet McCulloch was the centrepiece for a feast of strawberry foods, drinks, and conversation about the history of fruit farming in the area with a particular focus on Quaker Farming practices, ethics and investment in the area and an industry that once played an important role in the local economy and community.
  2. Groundworks:Grasslands Denmark
  3. Abandoned Clare Paddy Cahirs Barn Photograph Deirdre O'Mahony
  4. Research on residency at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) in 2017, began for Deirdre O'Mahony with the proposition, is 'carbon-neutral' beef possible? Scientists are currently testing the effect of different kinds of forage such as Sainfoin, on animal and soil health and on levels of methane produced by livestock. This art film project, supported by the Wellcome Trust investigated historical references to forages like Sainfoin in the museum archives and reviewed some of the extensive collection of documentary films produced to teach and promote increased efficiency in agriculture


Since 2012 FARM research has been underway with livestock producers in Ireland, the UK and Colorado, USA. The initial focus was on…

Read more
Corofin, Co. Clare Corofin, Co. Clare
Westcliffe, Colorado. Westcliffe, Colorado.

The Persistent Return 

A film-based artwork was commissioned by Workhouse Union and co-produced with VISUAL Carlow.

It was funded with generous support from The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíonn. The film marks the concluding phase of the SPUD project and was exhibited in June 2018 at VISUAL Carlow, and in October in the Natural History Museum, Leuwaarden as part of the 2018 European Capital of Culture Programme.

MORE The Persistent Return