2018: Trial + Error Natuurmuseum Fryslân
Fr. John Silke as a child with his father's prize winning Arran Pilot potatoes Photograph circa 1928.
The installation told the story of the seed potato industry in County Donegal. Drawing on a memoir by Father John Silke, From Coursleigh to Creeslough: J.J. Silke and the Irish Seed Potato Industry about his father J.J. Silke. From his arrival in Donegal in the early years of the twentieth century up to his retirement, Silke worked to transform a small parish in County Donegal from a subsistence to a market economy through the development of a seed potatoes industry. On his retirement, the industry collapsed; once productive fields have now reverted to rushes and bog. The artist was given permission by the Silke family to exhibit Fr. Silke’s collection of photographs of the business, its development, trials and marketing from the 1920s to its peak in the 1940’s. These were set beside Trial + Error, a short documentary film made by the artist of interviews with Fr. Silke.
Dedicated to Father John Silke 1926 – 2016.
Potatoes Go Wild curated by potato farmers in Friesland, for Leeuwarden European Capital Culture 2018