‘Staid na Talún - A State of Land’

21st August – 3rd September 2015

In association with dearclimate.net

Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, Ireland. 


‘Staid na Talún - A State of Land’ is a research project by Leitrim based artist Anna Macleod for the Leitrim Sculpture Centre artist in residence programme 2015. 

This socio-cultural project takes the 1840’s – 1850’s Geological Survey of Ireland field sheet maps as a starting point to explore historical and contemporary attitudes to rural landscapes in a time of climate change uncertainty. The GSI field sheets were mapped during one of the greatest catastrophes to befall Ireland, The Great Famine. While the survey approach was primarily scientific in mapping the geological formations of the Irish landscape another mapping function was the identification of mineral wealth and the potential land resources. 

During the Famine, rural poverty in Leitrim led it to be one of the worst affected counties in Ireland, an interview with historian ProinnsÍos Ó Duigneáin plots out the tumultuous years of the famine and post famine period, the emergence of the Land League and Ladies Land League in North Leitrim and how mass mobilisation of the population eventually led to better conditions tor tenant farmers, sowing seeds for the Irish Independence movement. 


The optimism of the mass rallies and the social changes that the Land League phenomenon brought to North Leitrim forms the backdrop to this longer term project that will try to unravel the layers of meaning embedded in the contemporary rural landscape of North Leitrim. The project juxtaposes the dispassionate language of mapping with the emotional connections to land by those who own and care for it and further sets out to chart the contemporary social movements that have developed in the face of threats to the land, threats that include depopulation and climate change.

The gallery research room is flanked by two installations, a poster project in association with dearclimate.net and a sculpture/video installation reflecting on waters’ relationship to land and climate. 

Dear Climate is a free access collaborative art project by a New York University group of artists and academics that was conceived as “a new way to talk about the weather.” The project is a collection of posters and sound collages that take on climate change with a more personal and conversational tone. The public is encouraged to interact with the project by downloading the posters as well as podcasts and distributing them through their own networks.

 ‘Taking up the challenge of the ‘new’ weather means we have to understand our human selves in ways that go beyond biography, even beyond history. We have to understand our species as a geophysical force that is shaping the systems of our planet.  Performing that conceptual feat will require many kinds of imagination, not just the imagination of crisis and catastrophe.  It will mean not just doing something about the weather, but talking about it—and feeling about it—differently.’

For ‘Staid na Talún - A State of Land’ Anna Macleod has printed 39 of the Dear Climate posters and included a local ‘interloper’ poster design.

- FLIT TO THE MOUNTAIN (move rapidly)-

10 x 100 A3 posters have been reproduced as multiples and visitors are invited to take a poster or two to hang in the workplace cafeteria or school, give to friends, slip into the magazine rack at a petrol station or keep at home as a discussion piece.

Dear Climate is Marina Zurkow, Una Chaudhuri, Oliver Kellhammer, Fritz Ertl, Sarah Rothberg, and part funded by a 2012 Visual Arts Initiatives Award, New York University, USA. www.dearclimate.net

With thanks to Proinnsíos Ó Duigneáin.

Image credits: Susanne Bosch, Ruth Le Gear, Anna Macleod, Pip Sheridan Sides.