Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Have you ever visited an exhibition that also offers introductory wrestling workshops? If not, that’s all the more reason to head over to Site Gallery in Sheffield where Welsh artist Phoebe Davies’ first solo exhibition, Points of Rupture, explores how contact sports such as boxing and rugby can serve as sites of compassion, tenderness, touch and connection.

Over in Leeds, The High Dam at The Tetley explores the sense of ‘inherited nostalgia’ artist Emii Alrai feels for a place she has never visited before, as a result of growing up in Scotland as part of an Iraqi family. The show features a series of ‘invented artefacts’ of the Middle East presented in a display vessel based on the ‘demon lures’ used in Ancient Akkadian gravesites to trap and distract demons from pillaging graves, and spans outward into an incisive critique of western appropriation of cultural objects, artefact and language.

Another strong female solo show also opens at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. Amy Romer’s photographic series The Dark Figure* confronts visitors with the pervasive though often overlooked presence of modern slavery in the UK, revealing the issue to extend far beyond nail bars, carwash forecourts and factory floors, into residential settings and potentially even neighbouring homes.

Back in Manchester, Other Transmissions: Conversations with Outsider Art at the Whitworth explores the theme of ‘Outsider Art’ from the perspective of six learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists, raising a series of thought-provoking questions around labeling, categorisation and the power dynamics of the art world. And lastly, Mark Making at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre offers a focused look at one of the most primary and universal building blocks of visual art, drawing upon example from around the world and opening up fascinating new perspectives on humanity’s innate drive to leave its mark.

Here are our picks

  • 1. The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool

    The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool
    Video still from documentary film Une vie de Grand Rhinolophe (2014), directed by Tanguy Stoecklé

    The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool, online, Until 31 March 2021, free entry - Visit now

    FACT’s year-long programme, The Living Planet, seems even more timely than first imagined – and has been created for people to interact with and enjoy remotely for free online.

  • 2. What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library

    What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library
    Anangu artists with the Uluru Statement from the Heart. From left: Christine Brumby, Charmaine Kulitja, Rene Kulitja, Happy Reid. Photography by Clive Scollaly.

    What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library, online, Until 27 July 2020, free entry - Visit now

    The Portico Library marks 250 years since British explorer James Cook first landed on the shores of what we now call Australia with an online exhibition that explores the history of violence and resistance that followed.

  • 3. Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism – Online at Gallery Oldham

    Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism at Gallery Oldham
    Specials Fans. Potternewton Park, Leeds, 1981. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London

    Rock Against Racism, online, Until 30 May 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Gallery Oldham presents a nationally touring exhibition of photographs by Yorkshire-born Syd Shelton capturing the legendary Rock Against Racism movement.

  • 4. Bill Brandt / Henry Moore – Online at The Hepworth Wakefield

    Bill Brandt / Henry Moore at The Hepworth Wakefield
    Bill Brandt, Nude, East Sussex Coast. Gelatin silver print, 1960. Bill Brandt Archive, London, © Bill Brandt / Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.

    Bill Brandt / Henry Moore, online, Until 31 August 2020 - Book now

    The Hepworth Wakefield is currently closed due to the ongoing situation with Coronavirus, however, its major exhibition bringing together over 200 works by Bill Brandt and Henry Moore can still be enjoyed online!

  • 5. New Digital Experiences at People’s History Museum

    New Digital Experiences at People's History Museum, Manchester
    Image © People’s History Museum

    New digital experiences for 2020 at People’s History Museum, City Centre, Until 23 December 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Can cutting-edge tech bring us closer to the events of the past? People’s History Museum unveils a series of digital experiences that shine a light on key moments in the history of democracy.

  • 6. Wake Up Together and Where Love is Illegal – VR Version, Online at Open Eye Gallery

    Ren Hang: Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery
    Untitled, Ren Hang, 2016. Stieglitz19

    Wake Up Together, online, Until 31 August 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Travel back in time and explore a VR-edition of Open Eye Gallery’s hugely popular 2018-19 exhibition, ‘Wake Up Together’, featuring work by Ren Hang and Robin Hammond; two artists who both champion the rights of every person to love who they want and respectfully live as they wish.

More in Exhibitions

Visual Arts Until 30 September 2020, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Take a tour around select artworks from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection. Lead by different guides every day, each tour is personal to their taste. Tours start at 2 pm from Thursday to Sunday.

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields
Exhibitions Until 20 July 2020, FREE

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields

‘a place lived’ by Maddi Nicholson is a new public artwork that delves into the near-forgotten history of Manchester’s thriving financial district.

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth
Exhibitions Until 5 July 2020, FREE

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth examines the powerful the voices of the Design Reform movement.

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives – exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 14 December 2021, FREE

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives at Manchester Art Gallery

Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.

2020 Banner Display at People's History Museum, Manchester
Exhibitions Until 3 January 2021, FREE

2020 Banner Display at People’s History Museum

Visit People’s History Museum’s 2020 display of political banners from across the years – including several that will go on public show for the first time.

THE PEOPLE’S CITY EXHIBITION at The Refuge – Photo © Rob Bremner
Exhibitions Until 31 May 2020, FREE

CANCELLED – The People’s City at The Refuge, Manchester

Organised by the British Culture Archive, The Refuge in Manchester presents a remarkable selection of images that capture Britain from the 1960s onwards.

Utopias exhibition at the Whitworth
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2020, FREE

Utopias at the Whitworth

How have visions of utopia and the visual culture that helped form it impacted upon the Brexit debate? A new exhibition at the Whitworth explores.

Activity Until 2 September 2020, FREE

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour

Take a closer look at some of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection while gaining a better understanding of the context in which the pieces were created. The free tours run daily from 2 pm.

skyliner
Activity Until 12 July 2020, from £9

Skyliner: Modern History of the Northern Quarter Tour

Join Skyliner for an alternative view of the Norther Quarter, learn about the area’s political happenings through it’s stunning public art.

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