Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Top of our picks this month has to be the John Moores Painting Prize – the most prestigious contemporary painting prize in the UK – which is now visitable online and set to open IRL at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool as soon as government restrictions allow. The anonymous, open submission process never fails to bring works by lesser known or undiscovered talent to the fore, whilst reliably featuring pieces by some of the most celebrated artists in the country. Take a virtual tour, discover this year’s five winners, and cast your vote for the Visitors’ Choice award.

We’re also hugely looking forward to Sutapa Biswas’ major exhibition, Lumen, at BALTIC, Gateshead. From her role in the British Black Arts movement in the 1980s to her ongoing work today, the British Indian artist has long been a driving force in efforts to highlight and challenge the deeply-engrained imperialist and colonial patterns of thought that still exist within British culture and society. This promises to be a deeply impactful show whilst equally embodying the often playful, humorous or dream-like quality of much of Biswas’ extensive output.

Closer to home, Manchester-based artist Nicola Ellis’ first major solo exhibition is set to open at Castlefield Gallery this March. No gaps in the line brings the worlds of art and industrial manufacturing into dialogue, exploring new ways in which the two might interact and testing our assumptions of what art is.

Meanwhile, The Earth Asleep marks the latest collaboration between visual artist Clara Casian and composer Robin Richards, in which the two embark on a journey to Otsuchi, a village in remote North-East Japan that was all but wiped out by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The feature-length film and original live score responds to our ability to process human suffering within the context of our 24/7 global news culture. Experience the premiere at HOME as part of its spring theatre programme.

Explore more exhibition highlights below.

Here are our picks

More in Exhibitions

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.

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2022, FREE

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike

A collaborative project that takes inspiration from the history of the Leigh Female Reformers of 1819 and the monstrous representations of them in the media of the time.

Posters from the civil rights era – an online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 30 June 2021, FREE

Posters from the Irish civil rights era – Online with the Working Class Movement Library

Working Class Movement Library presents an online exhibition of powerful posters made by young activists fighting for civil rights in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 31 March 2021, FREE

The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool

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.

What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library
Exhibitions Until 27 July 2021, FREE

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

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.

Exhibitions Until 1 May 2021, FREE

The Gardener Digs in Another Time – Online at the Whitworth

the Whitworth in Manchester invites you to step into the garden as subject with an online version of its 2016 exhibition, The Gardener Digs in Another Time.

Life drawing Manchester
Activity Until 25 April 2021, from £6

Life Drawing Manchester Online Classes

The popular Northern Quarter community, Life Drawing Manchester, have migrated to zoom, opening up their classes to models and artists from all over the world.

Swallows and Amazons For Ever! at Windermere Jetty Museum
Exhibitions Until 18 April 2021,

Swallows and Amazons For Ever! at Windermere Jetty Museum

Celebrate the spirit of adventure, learn more about the Cumbrian landscape and uncover the inspiration behind Arthur Ransome’s classic tale.

#WELCOME? at the People's History Museum
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2021, FREE

#WELCOME? at the People’s History Museum

#WELCOME? at the People’s History Museum explores the wider impact of media coverage and changing immigration controls.

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