A new art trail is coming to Manchester next month, bringing with it a total of 51 individual sculptures all designed by talented UK artists.
Designed to show thanks to the NHS and all the keyworkers who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, it’s been created in partnership with global public art producers Wild in Art – who were also behind Manchester’s popular 2018 Bee In The City art trail.
Aiming to capture the experiences that have connected us all through what has been one of the most challenging periods in modern peacetime, the free-to-visit exhibition has been curated in partnership with creative ambassador and fashion icon Dame Zandra Rhodes.
Consisting of 51 sculptures, it features work by professional artists and designers from across the UK – including pieces by prominent Manchester-based artists Leimai Lemaow and Nomad Clan.
The trail will also bring to life real-life stories and poems about key workers, narrated by a host of famous voices, and at the end of its UK tour all of the artworks on display will be sold off at auction to raise funds for NHS Charities Together.
Sharing her Gratitude art trail design to her Instagram page over the weekend, Manchester-based artist LeiMai told of how Wild In Art asked her to create a sculpture to raise money for the NHS that summed up the pandemic:
“I created this tale of two halves and named it “lockdown”, she shared with her followers.
“On the front of my sculpture I added the words “See you soon” from a charity print I’d released with @law_magazine during the first lockdown, it shows clapping and smiley faces, we were fine weren’t we?
“We had everything worked out, clapping helps right?… the back that you see reflected in the mirror has the words “sorry I’m having tech difficulties”, sad faces, and unsure clapping hands… was the pandemic ever going to end? Another f’ing zoom meeting when I hate video calls and my internet keeps dipping?
“Clapping like idiots but 1% pay rise for NHS… seriously? The spiral symbolises this never-ending whirlwind of feelings and asks the question; will things ever be the same again? it’s now on show in Birmingham and will be coming to Manny soon amongst other cities.”
And Leimai isn’t the only Manchester artist to be asked to get involved in the project. When the art trail lands in the city next month, there’ll also be a piece on display from internationally-acclaimed, queer street art muralist duo Nomad Clan.
Their design, entitled ‘Digital Conscience’, seeks to explore themes of value systems, digital identity, virtual reality and overstimulation in connection to our shared lived experiences of the past year.
Elsewhere, there’ll be further contributions from artists up and down the country – including Scottish fashion designer Pam Hogg with her sculpture ‘Courage’, British fashion and textile designer Kitty Joseph, Andrew Logan with his design ‘Spiral Stardust – Homage to the Alexander Technique’, and leading ceramic artist Kate Malone with her design ‘Life Force.’
Each artist has drawn their own inspirations from the past year, be that from the selfless, endless dedication of NHS workers or the opportunities we’ve been given to reconnect with nature during this forced period of slowing down.
‘Super Stars’, designed by Birmingham artist Edward Luke Thrush, nods to the keyworkers who braved the pandemic when the rest of us stayed at home, whilst Cardiff-based illustrator Matt Joyce’s design ‘The Joy of Pets’ celebrates the furry (and not so furry) companions that have kept us company throughout the trials and tribulations of Covid-19.
As well as showcasing sculptures from artists up and down the country, the trail will also bring to the fore real-life stories and poems about key workers.
These have been brought to life by working with a host of famous voices, including Adil Ray, Hugh Bonneville, Sarah Parish, Norman Cook, Christopher Eccleston, Julie Hesmondhalgh, John Thomson, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Shobna Gulati and KT Tunstall.
Visitors to the trail will be able to access these stories through the Gratitude App and website, hearing the experience of doctors and nurses, teachers, railways workers, and more.
Speaking on the new art trail,Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art said: “Gratitude is set to be a beautiful and striking tribute which celebrates the incredible courage and dedication of the UK’s NHS staff and all key workers and supports the vital work of NHS Charities Together.
“We are delighted to be launching our tour at Paradise Birmingham, after months of hard work from artists across the UK, who have dedicated their time and creativity to help us produce an installation which reflects our endless Gratitude for the care and kindness that all key workers have provided.”
You can visit Gratitude at St Peter’s Square, Manchester from 3 – 12 September 2021 before it moves on to visit Edinburgh and London. To find out more and grab your tickets, click here.
Police search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett resumes as ‘skull is found’
Police are back searching for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after a skull was reportedly found.
12-year-old Keith was snatched by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
The pair’s victims were five children, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, all aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time of their murder.
The victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but Keith’s remains have never been found.
Now a major breakthrough may have come from an author, Russell Edwards, who alerted police to ‘potential human remains in a remote location’.
Specialist GMP officers have now begun initial exploration activity but say it is ‘far too early’ to confirm if human remains have been discovered.
Officers have also updated Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, who was just eight years old when his sibling vanished and who has dedicated much of his life to solving the mystery of the missing body.
MP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday 29 September 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development – he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
A further GMP statement published by the Manchester Evening Newsadded: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (29th September) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”
Featured image: GMP
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.