BeesBlogs- Art in Manchester – September

BeesBlogs contemporary art in Manchester


BeesBlogs starts September’s blog with a major new exhibition at The Whitworth, from contemporary artist Alice Kettle whose current focus is on stitched textiles. Unusually, BeesBlogs has included the main text of the media release so that the reader can get the full background to this amazing project which engages with migrants and the refugee crisis. The project also has involvement from The Travelling Heritage Bureau and the Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN) which was part of the recent Zellij Arts exhibition ‘A Room of One’s Own’

We also have a new exhibition from Cross Street Arts and Florian Foerster at Contemporary Six, news from The Manchester Contemporary and the latest Art History programme from Art Across.

BeesBlogs STILL ON: –

neo:artists ‘Self and Others until 23rd September.

Paradise Works – ‘Apparel’ until 18th October.

Air Gallery ‘OPEN 2018’ until 29th September.

Saul Hay Gallery ‘Being Allowed to Look’ until 16th September. (watch out for news of their solo exhibition by Deborah Grice)

More information on these in BeesBlogs last post HERE


Alice Kettle – ‘Thread Bearing Witness’ The Whitworth

1st September – 24th February 2019

Alice Kettle, Sea (detail)
Thread Bearing Witness – cotton, rayon and metallic on printed canvas, 3m x 8m, 2017
Courtesy the artist and Candida Stevens Gallery Photo: Joe Low

From the Barberini Tapestries to the Bayeux Tapestry, monumental textiles in the form of large-scale narrative embroideries, weaving and tapestries have been used to illustrate contemporary events to become enduring material chronicles. Thread Bearing Witness is a major new series of large textiles, and other works, to be shown at the Whitworth, that considers cultural heritage, refugee displacement and movement, while engaging with individual migrants and their creativity within the wider context of the global refugee crisis.

Sky – Thread Bearing Witness (detail)
Alice Kettle, with Saamiullah Kahir, Idil Abdi Mohamud, Muno Idiris Mohamed, Amran Abdi
Mohamed, Fartun Umar Jimale, Iqra Abdi Mohamed, Tajura Lamiso Gatiso, Alias Aliye Musa
Aliye, Farhia Ahmed Ali, Gutu Habib, Ayantu Abdii , Abdirahman Abdi Muse, Isha Hassan
Bare, Bile Ali Aden, Amran Mohamud Ismail, Nawad Hersi Duale, Sahra Mohamud Ismail ,
Khadar Mohamud Ismail, Mohamed Ahmed Mezan Ismail Monica Hamakami ,Mohamed
Hirey and Abas ElJanabi and participants from Refugee Action at workshops with artist
Jenny Eden and Richard Harris . Cotton, rayon and metallic thread on printed canvas. 3m x 8m 2018
Courtesy the artist and Candida Stevens Gallery. Photography Joe Low

Alice Kettle is a highly regarded contemporary artist focused upon stitched textiles, a powerful medium through which to explore these themes. Thread Bearing Witness represents displacement through the migration of stitches, using the three strands of artistic representation, participation and creative resilience, testing ways of belonging within a cultural space, and using textile as a medium of integration, collective expression and resilience to displacement.

Core to Thread Bearing Witness are SEA, GROUND and SKY, three monumental works which form an immersive installation in the gallery. Kettle’s textiles act as temporary walls and campsites, requiring the viewer to negotiate them, challenging simply ‘decorative’ readings. The works embrace both the personal testimonies of the refugees Kettle has met and textiles’ role, from the domestic to the spectacular, to encourage understanding in this chronicle of shared making. SEA reflects on the mediated experience through the media lens, symbolising the perilous and fatal sea journeys taken by the migrants. GROUND is patterned, informed by refugee’s contributions of imagery and textile cultural heritage for a collective common ground of making where Kettle has created sites for other voices to occupy. SKY is similarly made through image contribution as a shared one world view.

Contributions from individuals, schools and groups in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Pikpa Camp, Lesvos Refugee camp, New Zealand, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Palestine, Romania, UK, USA, Cotton and wool thread on linen, cotton, polyester and calico, size variable, Approx 4,000 , each 10cm square mounted on cotton, calico, polyester and linen, 2017-2018. Photo: Joe Low

Kettle has developed the project Thread Bearing Witness with her daughter Tamsin Koumis who has a background of working with migrants and refugees and set up the Dunkirk Legal Support Team, enabling access to rights. Public and refugee inclusion and engagement in the project is critical. They recently went to help in the PIKPA camp in Greece with the organisation Lesvos Solidarity. Kettle has also worked closely and regularly with refugees in the UK through various organisations in the UK and abroad. Selected imagery from this work are translated into stitched images for GROUND and SKY while original artworks are also being developed. Kettle sees her role as a pattern maker, raising awareness of the issue of migration and raising money for refugee causes through ultimately selling the textile works. Kettle has also worked directly with talented people seeking asylum from Afghanistan, Uganda and Syria to make works for the exhibition including a tapestry and a large beaded artwork and showcase their talents.

Alice Kettle, Sea
Thread Bearing Witness (detail), cotton, rayon and metallic on printed canvas, 3m x 8m, 2017
Courtesy the artist and Candida Stevens Gallery Photo: Joe Low

Alice Kettle said: “Textiles make connections with home and community. In its substance it maps our cultural identities. I cannot be an observer; textiles are a way to engage, to show I care in a meaningful way, in a medium where I have a voice. I want to help and make a difference, maybe like all mothers do for their children.”

Thread Bearing Witness also includes further works from the parallel project The Travelling Heritage Bureau, led by Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN). The Travelling Heritage Bureau is a co-research project and supportive network with and for displaced women artists. The project aims to ensure the arts practice and cultural heritage of international women visual artists is identified, collected and shared. The Travelling Heritage Bureau is collaborating with Alice Kettle to co-design giant sculptural cushions for the Whitworth exhibition. These cushions act as sites to sit and act as metaphor for the occupation of cultural spaces, temporary settling places, allowing visitors to spend time contemplating the other works.


Cross Street Arts – Make It Yourself – Creative Music Exhibition.

Opening – Friday 31st August, 7pm – 9pm.
Exhibition continues until Saturday 22nd September.

Make It Yourself – Cross Street Arts

Cross Street Arts will be host to the final leg of the Make It Yourself touring exhibition, supported by Wigan Libraries D:Circus project. PhD students Jack Davenport and Oliver Halstead are a research team from the University of Central Lancashire’s Media Innovation Studio. They have developed interactive musical experiences which blend together elements of play and Japanese culture. The exhibition will present a range of musical activities, including a digitised Shogi Board, which combines the traditional Japanese game of Shogi with a recently collected archive of Japanese musical instruments.

Make It Yourself – Cross Street Arts



Florian Foerster – Contemporary Six

From 9th September

Florian Foerster

Places Drawn, Lost, and Reimagined constitutes a selection of works from German artist Florian Foerster. The exhibition covers a range of media, from woodcut prints to ink drawings, oil paintings to collage — but each work lies on the boundary between observation and imagination, and documents how memories of a place can affect its record.

With work held in private collections in Brazil, Germany, and the UK, Florian Foerster works also as a structural engineer — a career which informs his breaking down of images into fragments and composites, layering and rearranging, experimenting with materials and surfaces.

Florian Foerster – Inside Santa Maria – for J.C.Onetti, Nr 05

This exhibition comprises  work from five of Foerster’s projects: Inside Santa Maria, Cheetham Hill Road, Temperance Street, Jardim da Luz, and Manchester City Art Gallery. As well as documenting Manchester’s scrap yards, stations, and skylines, and Jardim da Luz in Sao Paulo, the collection also imagines the fictional town of Santa Maria in South America (from the novels of Juan Carlos Onetti).


Manchester Contemporary

International Galleries Selected To Show At The Manchester Contemporary 10th Edition

Manchester Contemporary – Buy Art Fair

The Manchester Contemporary, the UK’s only invitation art fair for critically engaged contemporary art outside of London, has announced this year’s roster of exhibitors. The selection of some of Europe’s most respected galleries sees the biggest international presence to date, attracting exhibitors from cultural capitals: Paris, Berlin, Lisbon and Rotterdam, among others, to Manchester.

Over 75% of those announced to show are new to the event, with a strong representation of UK regionals also confirmed.  A total of 34 galleries will feature, located centrally on entrance to the acclaimed event.

Manchester Contemporary – A hole with no sides is nothing – Jonny Niesche

The list, selected by The Manchester Contemporary Curator and founder of the gallery Division of Labour, Nathaniel Pitt, is a significant coup not just for the event, which over the last ten years has established itself as one of the country’s most respected contemporary art events, but for the city, attracting art collectors and curators from across the globe.

Amongst those selected for the tenth edition of the critical event are Grim Museum from Berlin, Kevin Kavanagh from Dublin and Lundgren Gallery from Majorca.

Grim Museum will be showcasing the artist Ada Van Hoorbeke, who employs guerrilla tactics in collecting men’s urine to make her indigo batik works.  Dublin gallery Kevin Kavanagh will be presenting Nevan Lahart’s dark yet enlightened paintings with local artist Richard Proffitt.

Manchester Contemporary – Autumn – Untitled

Representing the UK are contemporary art galleries including: Square Art Projects in London & Caracus, Bethlem Gallery in Kent, title date duration in Manchester, and Goldtapped in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Speaking on the announcement, Pitt said: “For this edition, in our tenth year, I have decided to look at the shape and future of the fair as a serious event in the busy contemporary art fair circuit. I see Manchester as an opportunity for a diverse approach to fair making. A more accessible artist centred fair both for the audience, collector and gallery alike.

Pitt said, “The Manchester Contemporary prides itself on being a part of a wider cultural landscape outside London and as a supporter of artistic practice and regional development. I have concentrated on bringing back some galleries from previous editions, galleries like Arcade who have a rich history of progressive exhibition making and attendance at the larger fairs, and added to this a roster of the best in artist-led projects from Caracus to Wakefield and a strong international presence from artist-focussed galleries in Berlin (Grim Museum), Paris (Galerie Jerome-Nivet,) Rotterdam (Joey Ramone), and Basel (Balzar Projects).

“And finally we have two key projects from Venture Arts, supported by Castlefield Gallery (both Manchester) and Bethlem Gallery of Bethlem Asylum in South London.  These projects will be showcasing artists who work closely with their respective organisations looking outside the confines of the art world”.

CEO of The Manchester Contemporary, Thom Hetherington, added: “It’s fitting that in this anniversary year, we are unveiling what is without doubt our strongest roster of contemporary art galleries and artists to date.

“The Manchester Contemporary was founded to create a platform for the sale of work from some of the most exciting and critically engaged, contemporary artists and galleries, fostering lasting relationships between them and art professionals and collectors.

“The breadth of acclaimed international and UK galleries selected for the tenth edition is testament to the fact we have achieved this.”

In 2017, The Manchester Contemporary further demonstrated its commitment to supporting rising artists with the introduction of The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund.  Earlier this month the work of last year’s selected artists, William Mackrell, and Emma Price,  was displayed at Manchester Art Gallery.  William’s piece – Aquarius, and Emma’s pieces – Mike I and Mike II, are available to be seen at the famous public gallery now with the fund confirmed to continue for 2018.

The Manchester Contemporary opens with a VIP Preview at 17:00 on Friday 12 October while public days take place on Saturday 13 October from 10:00 to 18:00 and on Sunday 14 October from 10:00 to 17:00.

Weekend tickets are £5 each and VIP preview night tickets are £12. Tickets are available now at k

Art Across – ‘Seventeen Artists‘* at The Portico Library

* – who just happen to be women

Sofonisba Anguissola, Self-portrait at the easel, c. 1556


When 1st, 15th, 22nd and 29th, September 2018, 11.30am-1.30pm

Since the radical Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum? (1989) by the Guerrilla Girls, the art world has been facing an increasing movement of challenging its predominantly male structure. It is impossible to modify retrospectively the canon that has ruled for centuries, made up almost exclusively of male artists; what we can do, instead, is use our modern consciousness to change our own perspective, to discover, welcome and recognise those artists whose contribution to the History of Art has been so far overlooked, or comparatively so, arguably and at least partly due to the fact that they were women.

This series will present seventeen artistic personalities, selecting some examples from different centuries: we will look at their lives and their art, put them into context and, as a result of the analysis of their biographies, we will acknowledge how their identity as female artists affected their careers, their work and their role for the following generations.

Art Across

The project has emerged from the combination between Sara’s research and that of contemporary artist Jane Fairhurst. The sessions will be led by Sara, while Jane will informally add her point of view as an artist, opening up to moments of conversation throughout some of the sessions; she will then present her work in the final part of the last session.

Tickets £13 per session

Click here to book your tickets on Eventbrite, or book by getting in touch with The Portico Library to avoid booking fees

Artists presented:

  • 1st September: Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Sofonisba Anguissola (c.1535-1625), Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652), Judith Leyster (1609-1660)
  • 15th September: Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), Luisa Ignacia Roldan (1652-1706), Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750), Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757)
  • 22nd September: Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), Élizabeth Vigée-LeBrun (1755-1842), Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899), Elizabeth Thompson (1846-1933)
  • 29th September: Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Edmonia Lewis (c. 1844-after 1911), Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), and Jane Fairhurst (b. 1953)