Art in Manchester – Contempory art for November


Art in Manchester has something for everyone both in Manchester and as usual, one a  little further afield with a new moving image installation ‘Am I not a woman’ at Liverpool International Slavery Museum from Manchester based artist and curator Elizabeth Kwant.  Something entirely different is ‘Meet the Neighbours from contemporary theatre company Quarrantine a weekend of tours, discussion, and guided walks exploring the phenomenal growth of Manchester centre and whether there is any truth in Guardian columnist Oliver Wainwrights contention that “the city is selling its soul in pursuit of the Manc-hattan dream”. With a new exhibition ‘Fanspeak at Castlefield Gallery, a solo exhibition by Zurich based artist Sam Porritt at Paradise Works, Altrincham’s Air Gallery have Natural Light and Opera North have a sumptuous week of opera at The Lowry. Plus we have a couple of PV’s at PS Mirabel.

See…I told you it was an eclectic mix of the arts this week!

FANSPEAK – Castlefield Gallery

2 – 24 November 2019

Curated by Shy Bairns

Art in Manchester
Maya Ben, Pokémorph Me (film still), 2016 – FANSPEAK Castlefield Gallery

Fanspeak features artists whose work appropriates fan-like production, emulating the content, objects and homages produced by fans of movies, music, sports, celebrities, and TV shows. Working with sculpture, painting and video, the artists interrogate pop- and sub-cultural references in order to disrupt our relationship with them. The exhibition brings together an exciting group of artists working with relevant and timely subject matter.

Art in Manchester
Owen Parry, Larry Underwater Kiss, 2016 [Jerwood Encounters_ Common Property, Jerwood Visual Arts, London, 2016] – FANSPEAK – Castlefield Gallery
Fan Speak (noun): slang or jargon present in fandom, particularly the acronyms, in-jokes and obscure terms used among readers and writers of science fiction fanzines.

Art in Manchester
Maya Ben, Pokémorph Me (digital drawing), 2016 – FANSPEAK Castlefield Gallery

In the worlds of Fandom, the message boards of obscure websites overflow with heightened emotions on subjects that have little value to the uninitiated. Fandom sees its creators dissecting their obsessions, becoming over-attached as they over-analyse them, ultimately mixing adoration with critique. The nature of this dedicated study enables fans to deconstruct the thing they love and rebuild it. They learn more about it, comparing it to their reality, and then rewriting it, inserting themselves into a fan-fiction hybrid. The artists in this exhibition explore this phenomena with sensitivity, intelligence and, at times, humor. Including Lydia Blakeley’s paintings of aspirational luxury which move from the banal to the uncanny. Kurdwin Ayub’s uncomfortable homemade homages to actors and singers, Maya Ben David’s sexualized Pokémorphs, and Graham Dolphin’s sculptural remakes of public memorials made by fans of dead icons.

Art in Manchester
Beth Richards, Rekall, 2013[1] – FANSPEAK Castlefield Gallery
Fanspeak was selected from proposals submitted by Castlefield Gallery Associates by guest selector Sam Thorne, Director Nottingham Contemporary and Castlefield Gallery’s Curator Matthew Pendergast.

Artists: Kurdwin Ayub, Lydia Blakeley, Maya Ben David, Graham Dolphin, Ashley Holmes, Owen G Parry, Beth Emily Richards, Rosa Uddoh, and Salford Zine Library


OUT OF PLACE   A solo exhibition by Sam Porritt – Paradise Works

PV: Thursday 7th November 6pm – 8pm, with donations bar.

Open: Saturday 9th, 16th & 23rd November, 12-5pm or by appointment.

Art in Manchester
OUT OF PLACE – Sam Porritt – Paradise Works

Dark humour, economy of means and precision are hallmarks of Porritt’s practice. For ‘Out of Place’, Porritt presents a dynamic new installation informed by contemporary concerns around displacement, surplus and need. Using a restrained portfolio of materials and construction techniques, this new site specific work sees Porritt return to Paradise Works, following 2018’s ‘Tipping the Scales exhibition with


Natural Light – AIR Gallery

PV Thursday 7th November 6 – 9pm

Art in Manchester
Natural Light – AIR Gallery

Lumen Studios present an exhibition which focuses on natural light, coming from the Sun, Moon and Stars.

Works explore the properties of natural light, and use natural light within the creation process of the work. This exhibition aims to protect areas benefiting from natural light, whilst also providing an opportunity to appreciate celestial wonders that can be seen within an urban area such as Altrincham.

Art in Manchester
Natural Light – AIR Gallery

Alongside the exhibition will be a series of events over the first weekend including:

Art in Manchester
Natural Light – AIR Gallery

Friday 8th November: Print the Moon Workshop with astronomer Paul Hill 7pm-10pm . Tickets £5
Saturday 9th November: Cyanotype Workshop 11am-1pm. Tickets £5
Saturday 9th November: Anthotype Workshop 1pm-4pm. Tickets £5
Sunday 10th November 2pm-4pm: Reading Light with Rosie Burslem. (Free but booking recommended).

All tickets available through Eventbrite

Meet the Neighbours: The Weekend – Quarrantine

Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th November

Manchester-based theatre company Quarantine stages weekend event Saturday 9 – Sunday 10 November exploring who the city’s massive growth is benefiting.  In 1981, fewer than 600 people lived in the heart of Manchester. Today, more than 65,000 people live in the city centre and its fringes – and this number continues to grow.

Contemporary theatre company Quarantine (Wallflower; Summer.),who  have been making projects in Manchester for 21 years, are bringing people together from all sides of the urban regeneration debate to ask how Manchester’s growth is affecting the people who live here and whether – as Guardian journalist Oliver Wainwright contentiously argued this week – “the city is selling its soul in pursuit of the Manc-hattan dream”.

Meet the Neighbours: The Weekend, which will take place in the city centre on 9-10 November, promises to offer fresh perspectives and broaden the conversation around the issues that affect all city dwellers.

The weekend event marks the end of a three-year, EU-funded international project called Meet the Neighbours, for which Quarantine is the lead partner, inviting artists into the heart of rapidly developing neighbourhoods in five cities across Europe and North Africa: Manchester & Salford, UK; Béthune, France; Lublin, Poland; Marrakech, Morocco; and Groningen, the Netherlands.

Curated by Quarantine with curator, dramaturge and writer Florian Malzacher (Appropriations, Berlin; Sense of Possibility, St. Petersburg), the weekend will feature guided walks, expert provocations, interactions, shared meals and conversation exploring the rapid development of Manchester. The public are invited to join developers, activists, academics, not-for profits and artists to question who Manchester’s growth is benefiting and how rapid urban change is affecting neighbourliness.

Over the past year, Quarantine’s element of Meet the Neighbours has seen them develop the project Tenancy. Renting a new-build house on the border of Manchester and Salford, Quarantine has invited artists to take up residence, meet their neighbours and to make work responding to the growth and development of the two cities. Artists have included UK-based visual and performing artists Hetain Patel, and Grace Surman & Gary Winters, and international artists Sarah Vanhee (Belgium) and photographer Ali Taptik (Turkey).

Meet the Neighbours: The Weekend will begin on Saturday with a series of guided walks and visits to different locations across the city, revealing unique perspectives on life in Manchester. Confirmed start times and locations will only be texted to ticket buyers the day before. Audiences might find themselves on a hard-hat site visit, meeting the bees living on the top of Manchester Cathedral, having a cup of tea with the person who has lived in the city centre the longest, or being guided through the streets by asylum seekers. There will be expert provocations from The Guardian’s senior economics commentator Aditya Chakrabortty, future transport researcher Dr Ransford A. Acheampong (University of Manchester), and leading Belgian artist Sarah Vanhee (Lecture for Every One; Oblivion), with other speakers still to be announced.

The Sunday will be dedicated to Meet the Neighbours in its entirety, sharing what has taken place in the five countries and opening up conversations on the shifting place of artists in our cities; art as a form of social action; and neighbourliness as a response to rapid social change.

Richard Gregory, co-Artistic Director of Quarantine, said: “We set up Quarantine in 1998 from the spare bedroom of our council flat in what has since been branded the ‘Northern Quarter’. Then, the estate we lived on was one of a few pockets of housing in Manchester City Centre. When the shops shut, with the exception of a handful of bars and restaurants, the city centre closed with it…”

“Now, we’re in a very different city. In some ways, an economic boomtown, the heart of the Northern Powerhouse initiative and a magnet for foreign investment. Meanwhile, the Northern Quarter has become a cultural hotspot and a must-see destination for visitors… We’re interested in what lies behind this boom. How is the city being shaped? Who is growth benefiting – and who is disadvantaged? What are these changes doing to the life and character of the city. What does all this mean for neighbourliness and how we live together?”

“We want to offer people new perspectives on life in the city and to bring people together who might not necessarily agree. The weekend will be a moment to reflect but also to look to the future. We’re interested in how we want to live, how we want to influence the culture of the city we live and work in. What will Manchester be like in ten years’ time and should we – can we? – steer change in a different direction?”

Meet the Neighbours: The Weekend

Dates: Saturday 9 – Sunday 10 November 2019

Times: Saturday 12 noon – late; Sunday 12 noon – 5pm

Location: Manchester City Centre – location will be confirmed with ticket buyers the day before the event

Full weekend ticket: £35 (£17.50)

Saturday ticket: £25 (£12.50)

Sunday ticket: £12 (£6)

More information and tickets for Meet the Neighbours: The Weekend are available via Eventbrite.


Rogue Women – Rogue Studios

PV Friday 15th November 6-9pm

Art in Manchester
Rogue Women – Rogue Artist Studios


Rogue: Behaving in ways that are not expected or not normal.

Subversive: seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution.

Solidarity: unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.

Why are so many female artists airbrushed from history?

Why is there gender inequality in the art world?

What does it mean to be a woman in Art?

Rogue Women – Rogue Artist Studios

Throughout art history women have been largely invisible, ignored and excluded from the dialogue.

‘ROGUE WOMEN’  brings together and celebrates the work of 40 women artists from Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and London and includes young emerging artists alongside established international artists working in varied disciplines. The aim is to put women in the spotlight and show solidarity with women artists everywhere. Our guest curator is Ann Bukantas, Curator and Head of Fine Art at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.


‘Am I not a woman and a sister’ –  Beth Kwant

I N T E R N A T I O N A L  S L A V E R Y  M U S E U M
15th November 2019 –  15th February 2020
3rd Floor Merseyside Maritime Museum | Royal Albert Dock | Liverpool | L3 4AQ
Open daily 10 – 5pm | Free entry

Still from film four channel film installationwith sound Elizabeth Kwant 2019

Am I not a woman and a sister‘ is a new moving image installation by Manchester based artist Elizabeth Kwant, co-created with female survivors of modern day slavery in partnership with Liverpool charity City Hearts.

The work is the culmination of a year long project researching the archives and collection of the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum Liverpool, seeking to better understand the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and it’s connections to the North West of England – Kwant’s birthplace and the place she calls home.

Through her past work ‘In- Transit‘ -where the artist embodied and retold migrants stories through site specific performances staged across the Mediterranean – Kwant became interested in the therapeutic benefits of theatre for survivors of trauma.

The artist initiated a series of movement workshops in collaboration with British Barbadian Choreographer Magdalen Bartlett Luambia, giving female survivors of modern day slavery tools and agency to create their own performances. These embodied performances were shot progressively in a studio and then on location at Harewood House, built between 1759-1771 for wealthy plantation and slave owner Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood.

Through objects, actions, sound, and repetitive movements, the film reflects upon colonial slavery and its ongoing legacy in modern Britain, raising questions of colonial history and human trafficking today.

The film is complimented by a specially commissioned soundtrack composed by musician Sarah Sarhandi.

and also……..

Operation Impact Regulations – PS Mirabel

Opening Night: Thursday 7th November 6 – 9pm.
Exhibition open from 9th November. 14th December
Open Saturdays – 11am – 5pm or by appointment.

Operation Impact Regulations, a group show discussing the accessibility of art through the common thread of public transport. It’s something that everybody has experienced, but as a subject has been approached in a manner of different ways by artists ranging from mid-career to some that have never made art before. The work in this show has been created using a variety of approaches and mediums, from photographs of restricted areas to bringing one of the most basic yet vital elements of bus travel into the gallery.

Axel Bottenberg, Jack Brown, Jack Doyle, Jack Eccleston, Andrew Gillman, Rosie McGinn, Sharon Swaine, Chez Tenneson, Susan Williams and Alistair Woods.

The words that precede my mouth – PS Mirabel

 Hosted by SOFT SPOT

The words that precede my mouth is a slowly curated show which will begin with conversation and observation of pre-existing artworks. These exercises will develop experimental spoken and/or written work. The participating artists are specifically multi-disciplinary – giving focus to practices which morph between writing and visual art. Culminating in a live event, the show hopes to explore how pre-existing work can, through the process of collective writing, trans-mutate and exist as new forms.

Bink Bulthaweenan, Leo Robinson, Mel Galley, Tyler Hyde

La Bohème – Giacomo Puccini – Opera North at The Lowry

La Boheme – Opera North at The Lowry

On a cold Christmas night, Mimì knocks on Rodolfo’s door in search of a candle light and a love is sparked that changes their lives forever. But can young love survive the harsh winter?

Set in the bustling clubs and cafés of early-60s Paris, Phyllida Lloyd’s vibrant and joyous production is back with a new international double cast, showcasing some of the most promising young artists of today, many of whom make their Opera North debuts. Australian soprano Lauren Fagan and British soprano Katie Bird share the role of Mimì, with Mexican tenor Eleazar Rodríguez and New Zealand tenor Thomas Atkins as Rodolfo, Armenian soprano Anush Hovhannisyan and British/Australian soprano Samantha Clarke as Musetta, and Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk and British baritone Timothy Nelson as Marcello.

Giulio Cesare – George Frideric Handel – Opera North at The Lowry

Giulio Cesare – Opera North at The Lowry

Cleopatra and her brother are vying for the throne when Julius Caesar arrives in Egypt in pursuit of an enemy. Seeing the opportunity to tip the balance of power in her favour, Cleopatra seduces Caesar. As their passion soars, Caesar finds himself drawn into a dangerous web of bloodthirsty ambition…

Art in Manchester
Giulio Cesare – Opera North at The Lowry

Handel’s take on the tempestuous romance between Caesar and Cleopatra features some of his most exciting music. Vengeance and desire drive vividly-etched characters through this ravishing, brutal masterpiece and an astounding series of glittering arias, by turns seductive, desperate, triumphant and tender. The result, in a production by Tim Albery with beautiful and dramatic designs by Leslie Travers, is a work that has all the colour, passion and epic sweep of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Baroque opera specialist Christian Curnyn, who has made several acclaimed Handel recordings with the Early Opera Company, conducts a cast including soprano Sophie Bevan as Cleopatra, contralto Maria Sanner as Cesare and counter-tenor James Laing as Tolomeo.

The Greek Passion – Bohuslav Martinů – Opera North at The Lowry

This searing season opener is a tale for our times. In a remote Greek community, the villagers are casting roles for the upcoming Passion play. When a group of desperate refugees arrives, seeking help and shelter, deep rifts tear into the community. Manolios, one of the villagers, pleads with his neighbours to show compassion for the exiled. But he is met with a wall of contempt that he must find the strength to break down…

Martinů’s Greek Passion is a unique and powerfully resonant opera. A spectacular soundscape of choral and orchestral forces combines with compelling spiritual drama that unfolds in cinematic style. Christopher Alden directs a superb ensemble cast, with Garry Walker conducting what is set to be one of the essential operatic events of the year.

Originally written for Covent Garden in 1957, The Greek Passion was subsequently revised for its eventual premiere in Zürich in 1961. In recent years the strength of Martinů’s original vision for the opera has come to be recognised, and it is in the first ‘London’ version that Opera North presents this new production.

The Lowry, Salford Quays

Tue 12 Nov                                    La bohème†                                                                             7.30pm

Wed 13 Nov                                  Giulio Cesare                                                                           7.00pm

Thu 14 Nov                                   La bohème* (audio described/sign interpreted)     7.30pm

Fri 15 Nov                                      La bohème†                                                                             7.30pm

Sat 16 Nov                                     The Greek Passion                                                                 7.30pm