Patrick Hough: The Black River of Herself

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
Main Gallery
Saturday 16th October 2021 - Sunday 9th January 2022


Patrick Hough’s new film ‘The Black River of Herself’ premieres at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.



Hough is an Irish artist and the title of this work is taken from a poem by Seamus Heaney. Heaney’s writing about the Irish landscape is playfully evoked in Hough’s work: Heaney famously described peat farming and ’bog bodies’: the intact corpse of an ancient ancestor whose skin and bones have been preserved for tens of thousands of years because of the PH levels of peat. Such bodies are like the river of our ancestral DNA, flowing submerged beneath visible surfaces.

In Hough’s film, a female bog body is uncovered at the site of a dig that awakens her from her sleep. She talks to an archaeologist tasked with recovering her from the earth. She tells of her own fate, and her premonition for our environment. The race to save this bog body is also a story about the race to save ourselves from ecological collapse and inevitable extinction.

Created in collaboration with Film and Video Umbrella. Produced by Tracy Bass. Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland and Arts Council England.








Photos: Colin Davison
Contact: ︎ Jonathan.weston@sunderlandculture.org.uk