Renowned artist Lisa Fingleton to showcase ‘Holding True Ground’ in Dundalk

Arts & Culture

Áine Kenny


Áine Kenny


Renowned artist Lisa Fingleton to showcase ‘Holding True Ground’ in Dundalk

Renowned artist Lisa Fingleton to showcase ‘Holding True Ground’ in Dundalk

Lisa Fingleton, a well-respected artist from Co. Kerry, is showcasing her exhibition Holding True Ground in An Táin Arts Centre, Dundalk from Saturday February 17th to Saturday March 31st.

Lisa says a lot of her work revolves around collaboration, drawing and film making. She believes that art has the power to create the change we want to see in the world. Holding True Ground is a project which was created in part by Lisa’s work with local growers, and she manages to cultivate deep-rooted connections between art and farming.

Holding True Ground is a film, photography and community collaboration with bee keepers, growers and farmers. As part of the project, Lisa created a community project called Breathing the Same Air. She worked with people from all around North Kerry region.

Lisa herself works and lives on a 20-acre organic farm, where she creates her art and grows her own food. She describes Holding True Ground as “simultaneously funny and deadly serious.” People who attend the exhibition will be treated to a sumptuous, visual feast of drawings, found objects, documentary and immersive installations.

The exhibition will also include work about how An Táin’s gallery was a prison. “The hangman was called Brian A Muck as he was convicted of pig stealing, and got reprieved from death by becoming the hangman. His address was Squeeze Gut Alley right behind the gallery. I mean you just couldn't make it up,” Lisa laughs. “I think local people will like the connections. I think it is interesting to draw parallels with the famine which was not that long ago, and potential future food shortages,” Lisa says.

Lisa says that she was always creative as a child, but didn’t think an artist was a career path she could choose. “I was always drawing as a child but had never met a professional artist, so I didn’t think it could ever be a ‘real job’. I remember distinctly when I was a teenager and my uncle introduced to a friend as an artist. It really resonated with me and I remember thinking for the first time ‘I am an artist’.”

Lisa also explains how important the overall message of her work is. “I love using lots of media and expressing myself in many different ways. I suppose I believe that the message is more important than the medium,” she says. “If I am trying to tell a complex story, a documentary film can be a great medium. Sometimes simple watercolours work best to distil a message down to its essential core,” she says.”

“I have always loved working with people and learning from people. I really enjoy this particular work ‘Holding True Ground’ as it is about working with growers and farming communities to explores issues of sustainability, food and climate change,” she reveals.

This isn’t Lisa’s first time in Dundalk. “I worked on a women’s project in Muirhevnamor in 1994-95 with a fantastic group of young mothers. I learned so much from their resilience and strength and look forward to seeing them when I am back in Dundalk. I was also in Dundalk before Christmas and got great help from the library in researching the project.”

Lisa will be hosting workshops during her time in An Táin as well as exhibiting her work. At 11am on Friday the 16th February, she will be hosting a practical workshop for school students that will focus on drawing from life through line, but also exploring the possibility of digital line drawing from the imagination.

Lisa will also be delivering a talk on “The 30 Day Local Food Challenge” at 5pm on Saturday 17th February in An Táin. This talk would be ideal for anyone interested in growing food, climate change, transition communities and living sustainably. Admission is free, but booking is required.

Lisa believes it is very important to be sustainable and use locally sourced food. “In Ireland only 1% of our agricultural land is used to grow vegetables. I really believe that this is a shocking statistic as it means we are totally dependent on imported food. This is far from being a resilient, sustainable community and it needs to change if we are to realistically face the challenges of climate change and even Brexit,” Lisa says. “Eating local changes everything. It means your directly support local farmers to grow food and this keeps rural communities alive and healthy,” she explains.