An investment of €1m has been made to our National Collection of artworks. Exciting new pieces will be shared between Cork’s Crawford Gallery and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and among them are local artists in line for major exposure
WORK by leading West Cork artists feature in a €1m investment announced for the National Collection this week.
The works, 422 in total by 71 artists, will be located in both the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).
As the cultural repositories for the country, the role of the national cultural institutions is to reflect Ireland and tell the story of our country, and this is the first time in over a decade that substantial funding has been specifically allocated towards building the National Collection to reflect contemporary culture.
The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has been working with the national cultural institutions through the pandemic to develop meaningful ways to support artists across the country at this challenging time. Last October, Minister Catherine Martin committed €1m from her department to IMMA and the Crawford Art Gallery to fund the purchase of artworks by artists living and/or working in Ireland.
The investment allowed the two institutions charged with collecting contemporary art to work together to support artists by buying existing artworks and bringing much needed financial resources to the sector.
IMMA and the Crawford Art Gallery have been working tirelessly to realise this progressive goal for the National Collection in what is regarded as a very exciting move. The body of artworks has been selected through a rigorous process by both institutions to ensure strategic and thoughtful acquisitions for the nation.
Spanning from 1972 to 2021, they consist of paintings, photographic work, drawings, sculpture, installations, moving image, sound work, film, digital work, embroidery and performance. This is a significant boost to both collections, strengthening and enhancing the breath of style of work, making them truly representative of contemporary Irish practice and available for the public to enjoy for generations to come.The Crawford will be home to 225 works (comprising 100 paintings, 58 photographs, 14 prints, 28 drawings, eight sculptures, four installations, one soundwork, five digital films, one art quilt, and six embroideries) by 39 artists.
The West Cork artists are: Stephen Brandes, Kinsale; Sarah O’Flaherty, Aghabullogue Michael Quane, Coachford; Sara Baume, Skibbereen; Debbie Godsell, Macroom; Jessie Jones, Skibbereen (one of IMMA purchased artists); Anne Kiely, Ovens; Mary Palmer, Innishannon and Charles Tyrrell, Ailihies.
At a time when exhibition opportunities are limited, the fund has helped promote artists, supporting and enhancing their reputations by acquiring their work for the National Collection to enable them to practice, now and into the future.
Crawford director Mary McCarthy, from Skibbereen and about to guide the gallery through a capital plan of almost €30m said: ‘Being from West Cork and having grown up there, I understand it as a place that enables and supports creativity.
‘Its sheer physical beauty, the environment, the people, the community, creates an environment of possibility. The artists who choose to live in West Cork and those that work in the arts centres, galleries and studios there have helped to create that special thing that West Cork has. I know it influenced my choice to work in the arts. This acquisition process enabled us look again at some of the many artists living there.
‘We are delighted at this time to be able to support some via the purchasing of their work.’
Minister Martin added: ‘I look forward to see how IMMA and the Crawford Gallery will share these additions nationally and internationally where they can be widely viewed by the public and act as a reservoir for future enjoyment, inspiration and research.’