Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor

This month, traditional painting takes a step back in our top picks, making way for pretty much every other medium. Take a look at these fresh exhibitions to choose from. 

If you want to experience some bright colour during these dreary, early days of spring, visit Harewood House and stroll through Colours Uncovered. More colour comes from performer extraordinaire David Hoyle, who brings a brand new programme of live events along with an exhibition to Aviva Studios.

Claude Cahun’s performative portraits are on display at Abbot Hall in Kendal in Claude Cahun: Beneath this Mask, impressive in their boldness even now, many decades after their creation. Leilah Babiyre celebrates the queer community with large-scale sculptures created from local wood and found materials at her solo show Obumu (Unity) at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. 

Back in Manchester Nikta Mohammadi: Memory Stone at the Lowry looks to the countryside, natural landscapes and their complicated relationship with migrants in a new video work. In Manchester Art Gallery, the exhibition series Uncertain Futures is back with its final instalment, exploring prospects and the reality of work for women over 50.

Our top picks

Colours Uncovered at Harewood House

Colours Uncovered at Harewood House, Leeds, Until 9 June 2024, from £12.00 - Book now

From pigments to historical artefacts and contemporary artworks, explore colour in this vibrant show at Harewood House and surrounding grounds.

a large mansion house surrounded by three blocks of colour
Image supplied by Leeds Inspired

David Hoyle: Please Feel Free To Ignore My Work at Aviva Studios

David Hoyle: Please Feel Free To Ignore My Work at Aviva Studios, Manchester, Until 28 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Comedian, cabaret artist, writer and all round performance powerhouse David Hoyle is coming to Aviva Studios with a whole programme of riotous events, from live painting and an exhibition to a pub quiz with a twist and a night of avant-garde live performances.

David Hoyle: Please Feel Free To Ignore My Work at Aviva Studios
Lee Baxter

Claude Cahun: Beneath this Mask at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Claude Cahun: Beneath this Mask at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Cumbria, Until 3 August 2024, from £0.00 - Book now

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Cahun’s photographs gathered here depict different people. They are, in fact, performative self-portraits, veiling the artist/ model with props, compositions and photography techniques to create new personas.

Claude Cahun mirrored self portrait
Jersey Heritage

Leilah Babirye: Obumu (Unity) at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Leilah Babirye: Obumu (Unity) at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire, Until 8 September 2024, free entry - Visit now

Babirye’s transformative process turns other people’s rubbish into her beautifully bold sculptures. The show gathers a new body of work created during a residency at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Unity Sculptures
Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Nikta Mohammadi: Memory Stone at The Lowry

Nikta Mohammadi: Memory Stone at The Lowry, Manchester, Until 5 May 2024, free entry - Visit now

The natural landscape becomes a character in Mohammadi’s new video work, which explores the traces left in the land by migrants.

Nikta Mohammadi, Memory Stone, 2024
Nikta Mohammadi, Memory Stone, 2024

On the other side at FACT

On the other side at FACT, Liverpool, Until 2 June 2024, free entry - Visit now

Take a closer look at the structures of power, authority and control that govern our realities and lead us to conform to specific norms, through the work of three artists: Pilvi Takala, Melanie Crean and Katrina Palmer.

An image captured from overhead of two men embracing. One is seated, and the other is kneeling.
Melanie Crean, A Machine to Unmake You (M2UY) (2019-2024). Film still. Courtesy of the artist.

Fragile Microbiomes at Thackray Museum of Medicine

Fragile Microbiomes at Thackray Museum of Medicine, Leeds, Until 23 June 2024, from £8.95 - Book now

Bio artist Anna Dumitriu facilitates an unlikely collaboration – in ‘Fragile Microbiomes’ bacteria work with textiles and other materials to create fascinating multi-layered artefacts.

The Plague Dress - Fragile Microbiomes - Thackray Museum of Medicine
Jo Ritchie (Chapter 81)

Yukihiro Akama: Basho no Kankaku – A Sense of Place 場所の感覚 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yukihiro Akama: Basho no Kankaku – A Sense of Place 場所の感覚 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire, Until 30 June 2024, free entry - Visit now

Feel right at home at YSP’s new show by Yukihiro Akama, an artist entirely dedicated to his craft of woodcarving beautiful, gem-like miniature houses.

A selection of small carved wooden houses
Photo: Red Photography, courtesy YSP.

Found Cities, Lost Objects at Leeds Art Gallery

Found Cities, Lost Objects at Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds, Until 21 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Delve into the politics of urban living in Leeds Art Gallery’s current temporary exhibition. The show explores the way space is navigated and negotiated from the perspective of women and non-binary residents.

An artwork featuring many rectangular mirrors with coloured frames. In the mirrors are the fractured reflections of a young woman with dark hair, in the act of taking a photograph of two other unidentifiable young women in a street.
Hannah Starkey, Mirror – Untitled, September 2015, 2015. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist

40 Years of the Future: Painting at Castlefield Gallery

40 Years of the Future: Painting at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, Until 23 June 2024, free entry - Visit now

The first part of Castlefield Gallery’s anniversary celebrations is all about painting as previously shown artists come back to the space to show work alongside emerging local painters.

An abstract painting with white and colourful marks on a red canvas
Gary Wragg, Skid (1984). Photographed by Paul Tucker, image courtesy of the artist

Manchester Open 2024 at HOME

Manchester Open at HOME Manchester, Manchester, Until 28 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Manchester Open is back for its 2024 edition! A wonderful showcase of local talent, creativity and artistic experimentation, it’s an unmissable event in the city’s cultural calendar.

Connection by Tinuke Fagbourn
Connection by Tinuke Fagbourn.

Jane Jin Kaisen: ‘Halmang’ at esea contemporary

Jane Jin Kaisen: ‘Halmang’ at esea contemporary, Until 21 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Jane Jin Kaisen explores Jeju Island off the Korean Peninsula as her birthplace and takes a closer look at its history, spirituality and the island’s female sea divers: the Jeju ‘haenyeo’.

3. Jane Jin Kaisen, 'Halmang', 2023, video still, courtesy of the artist
3. Jane Jin Kaisen, 'Halmang', 2023, video still, courtesy of the artist

Re: Loaded at The Royal Armouries Museum

Re: Loaded - Weapons of Mass Seduction at The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, Leeds, Until 30 June 2024, free entry - Visit now

Should we be making weapons beautiful? If so, why? There may be no obvious answers, but Re:Loaded at the Royal Armouries will not leave you indifferent. 

Abstract photo of a blue and platinum, diamond encrusted revolver. The camera lens used has refracted the image so it appears multiple times in the photo, slightly blurred. Taken on a dark purple background.
Royal Armouries Museum

40 Years of the Future at Castlefield Gallery

40 Years of the Future at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, Until 30 March 2025, free entry - Visit now

Manchester’s beloved Castlefield Gallery is turning 40! Check out the exciting programme of events taking place throughout the year

A dynamic painting of colourful shapes arranged to form a cross
Hoyland Studio Ltd

LAND – Photographs by Matthew Conduit at Graves Gallery

LAND – Photographs by Matthew Conduit at Graves Gallery, Sheffield, Until 15 June 2024, free entry

Matthew Conduit has been returning to photograph the same post-industrial sites which have captivated him for three decades now – take a look at the large-scale results of his work at Graves Gallery’s new show.

A natural scene focusing on a dense, tall hedgerow. Photographed in high definition at close range so that the twigs and branches form a pattern. There are plastic wrappers and bags in the foreground.
© Matthew Conduit

Phlegm: Pandemic Diary at Millennium Gallery

Phlegm: Pandemic Diary at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, Until 7 July 2024, free entry - Visit now

Phlegm’s signature mural work is significantly scaled down in Pandemic Diary, where the artist uses his fantastical visions to share his experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A pen and ink drawing of a bird-like figure sitting down and hugging 3 human-like figures
Phlegm, Mother bird (Pandemic Diary series, no.66) © the artist

City of Rivers at Weston Park Museum

City of Rivers at Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, Until 3 November 2024, free entry - Visit now

Sheffield is undoubtedly a water city and this part of its identity is being highlighted in City of Rivers at Weston Park Museum, with artworks, local river finds, music and maps.

14. R Hudson, Brook Scene, Endcliffe Woods. Image © Sheffield Museums

More exhibitions events

a large mansion house surrounded by three blocks of colour
Until
ExhibitionsLeeds
Colours Uncovered at Harewood House

Explore colour through an amazing range of artefacts at ‘Colours Uncovered’, a new exhibition at Harewood House, from colour theory and pigment to classical painting and contemporary textiles. from £12.00

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Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

HOME Manchester
Manchester
Theatre
HOME Manchester

Now back open with a packed schedule of events and things to do, HOME Manchester is one of the city’s leading hubs for arts and culture.

The Hepworth Wakefield
Wakefield
Gallery
The Hepworth Wakefield

Winner of the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year Award, The Hepworth in Wakefield is easily one of the leading cultural highlights of the North.

The Whitworth
Manchester
Gallery
The Whitworth

This much-loved gallery-in-a-park is open for business, showcasing some of the city’s finest contemporary and historic exhibitions.

Waterfront
Museum
The British Music Experience

It’s a discotheque for the senses, an incredible collection of artefacts and memorabilia, audio guides, music and stories. There are iconic costumes worn by David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Dusty Springfield, the Spice Girls and Adam Ant, and musical instruments played by some of the world’s most renowned artists from Noel Gallagher to the Sex Pistols.

Gallery
The Tetley

A new contemporary art gallery, restaurant, bar and creative workspace in Leeds.

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