BALTIC commission process journal


BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

22 October 2022 – 30 April 2023

Hinterlands is a group exhibition that invites us to consider our relationship with the land and its ecosystems. The artists showcased explore complex histories, mythologies, legacies and potential futures for its custodianship.

The show considers the landscape of the North East, its histories, mythologies and legacies and potential futures for custodianship. New commissions and existing works by artists connected with the area reflect on ideas of rootedness and belonging, human and more-than-human relationships, boundaries, land and time in the era of the climate emergency.

The idea of hinterlands – the land away from the coast or the banks of a river – is at the core of the exhibition, which explores what lies beyond the visible or known. Considering land and place as a complex layering of relationships, the exhibition will explore these ideas through innovative artistic processes and approaches, including through the possibilities of materials and contexts: geological, biological and social, shaped and hardened by history.


Michele Allen / Uma Breakdown / Jo Coupe / Laura Harrington / Emily Hesse /Alexandra Hughes / Mani Kambo / Dawn Felicia Knox / Sheree Angela Matthews / Anne Vibeke Mou / Sabina Sallis

Taken from The BALTIC’s website.

If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

Toni Morrison

BALTIC commission process journal

I’ve been commissioned to create new artwork for a group exhibition taking place on Level 3 of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Autumn 2022.

This was an invitation extended to me after a few years of working with the BALTIC on establishing anti-racism practices within the foundations of the institution. I had the pleasure of working with the Learning and Civic Engagement team to produce a number of different resources for schools. As well as working with the staff to facilitate their anti-racism reading group from 2021-2022.

I’m honoured to be recognised as a practicing artist now with this commission and I’m working hard to make sure what I produce work which reflects my varied and diverse practice as well as gives this opportunity the due justice it deserves.

Here I’ll be sharing my process and practice as I explore the themes and focus of the exhibition as we’ll as share some sneaky glimpses of the final product/commission.

The Atlantic Ocean wasn’t simply a conveyance of the slave trade, it was … a place of transformation from human to cargo.

Ellen Gallagher
BALTIC commission process journal

Talking Things Through – 15 June 2022

BALTIC commission process journal

This week saw me meeting with one of the curators of the Hinterlands exhibition to talk about my commission. If I’m being honest, I was and wasn’t looking forward to meeting. I felt as if I was no further forward than the last time we talked. I felt as if I had nothing to show for my research, reading and thinking. 

As it happened, the meeting turned out to be really productive and inspiring and encouraging as I appreciated the time and space to talk through my thoughts and ideas. To think about the concepts and themes and logistics with someone else is a valuable resource I’d forgotten about or taken for granted. So I was super grateful to come out of the meeting, not so much everything pinned down, but more of an idea of the next step.

My next best step, which really is all I should be focusing on as a means of not allowing this commission to run away from me is to take my forthcoming residency at Cornwall Zine Library @ Fish Factory Arts as an opportunity to gain some clarity and produce a project proposal that will communicate my vision to others. 

That is my next step, a big one, but a really exciting one as once I have it pinned down what I want to do, I can start executing it to the best of my ability. 


The Rain in Cornwall – 19 June

Tonight in Penryn I appreciate the sound of the rain, the fading light and nothing really to do except listen.

It’a only in recent years, have I come to appreciate the sense of sound. In the past, I’ve not had the patience or reason enough to slow down and listen. Until, I was forced to with a global pandemic. Then everything took on new meaning. And things I knew about myself came undone or were no longer true. The voice, sounds and silence became my companion as I dived into listening to podcasts.
The feelings I get when listening to someone speak to me, and only to me through my headphones is so intimate and close that all else doesn’t exist. I’m cocooned in this world created just by their words, voice, music, and silence. It’s magical. It’s powerful.

So who wouldn’t want to replicate this? The Earth Sea Love Podcast was born. Sharing stories and experiences of Black bodies in nature is the focus and it’s uniqueness.
Somewhere in this commission there will be sound. My voice, field recordings, music. I do not know how or what yet, but for the fullest of expression and connection there has to be something for the sense of sound.

My practice is the Practice of ::SLOW::

Here on a residency in Cornwall, I’m not rushing to rush into anything. I’m content to lie here, cosy, let the night come on and the rain continue to fall. Listening to the water hit the water. Rain hit river. Heart hit home.

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