Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Two internationally renowned Polish artists feature among our highlights this month. From relative obscurity, Alina Szapocznikow is now considered one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century, and is soon to receive her first major UK retrospective at The Hepworth Wakefield. Miroslaw Balka, on the other hand, will already be familiar to many from his major installation, How It Is (2009), at the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Now he’s heading northwards to present work in the Cumbrian village of Ellerthwaite, reflecting on the history of the Lake District as a place that welcomed 300 child Holocaust survivors after the war. Szapocznikow herself survived the Nazi concentration camps as a teenager, and her work is deeply affected by this haunting past.

By contrast, Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre’s latest show reflects upon the less welcoming spirit that has developed throughout the UK in recent times. Foreigners is a bold statement, which sees a cultural organisation taking an unusually political stance amidst the ‘official position’ neutrality that dominates the sector. While Bolton-born artist Hetain Patel examines the cultural assumptions that underpin our notion of ‘foreignness’, dressed in a homemade Spider-Man outfit.

At The Royal Standard, an exhibition of work by black female artists, exploring race, feminism and self-love, responds boldly to the political and social conditions affecting their daily lives. And a group of nine Indian female artists, once considered ‘untouchable’ under the Hindu ritual ranking, find self-expression and financial empowerment through a project based on the traditional craft of katab, at Manchester Craft & Design Centre.

Going Public in Sheffield explores questions of public versus private art ownership; and Tate Liverpool highlights the history of a much-overlooked circle of radical Surrealist artists based in Egypt in the 1930s and 1940s, whose work actively challenged the colonial, nationalistic forces governing the country at the time.

Here are our picks

Culture Guides


Tip top experiences for families that stretch our perceptions and minds right now – experimental new technology to radical re-imaginings, awe-inspiring outdoor arts and the last two glorious festivals this summer.

Lemn Sissay.


There’s plenty to see and do this autumn in live literature land – not least because Manchester Literature Festival is back in town, and tickets are selling like hot cakes so you need to get in there quick-sharp!


As the festival season draws to a close, live music returns to the city’s concert halls and venues. Why not check out Manchester Folk Festival – new in 2017 – plus major events like Transformer and Manchester Psych Fest.


Gig theatre, an American classic and two people dancing like idiots – all this and more in our monthly guide.


From big brash musicals to apocalyptic comedies and silent movie masterpieces – there’s something for everyone in our latest Cinema Guide.

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

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Exhibitions 23 June 2017–1 January 2018, from £4.00

Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War at IWM North

Exhibitions 24 June–1 November 2017, FREE

Raqib Shaw at the Whitworth