Saturday, 27 January 2018

Manchester Art Gallery

Having listened to the music of one of Manchester's greatest sons in my last post, come with me now on a journey up to that great north west city where there are some strongly Asian inspired, artworks currently on display at Manchester Art Gallery and other art spaces across the city. It is all part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the independence of India, Pakistan, and later Bangladesh, to show the most exciting examples of South Asian culture. I really liked the oddness of this squatting Spiderman sculpture, completely at home, yet, strangely out of place against the Victorian neo-classical setting and artworks in the grand entrance hall of the gallery. He is the work of Hetain Patel, noted for his use of the intervention of fantasy superhero figures within the everyday domestic setting of his family home in nearby Bolton.

The following sequence of images are from Patel's short film - The Jump (2015). It set my spider senses tingling!

I also greatly admired these painstakingly detailed miniature architectural paintings of multi-disciplinary artist Risham Syed's home city of Lahore in Pakistan. Syed is interested in capturing the changing urban landscape of Lahore, and her work is well-placed in the constantly shifting development of the Mancunian landscape. The installation above, is also by Syed and forms a complementary architectural contrast to her paintings.

The picture above gives an indication of the scale of these lovely, tiny paintings.

This installation - The Tent Of Darius, (2009), is also by Syed. I'm not sure which I preferred most, her miniature paintings, or these beautiful, poetic embroidered interventions on army garments which have witnessed first-hand the horrors of warfare. I loved the simplicity and quietness of their inclusion into the gallery, again amongst the high drama of the Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The embroidered embellishments add something poignant and moving to these relics of past conflicts.

On the second floor of the gallery is a room devoted to an exhibition of South Asian Design, exploring how the traditional crafts of the region are informing contemporary craft and fashion. I really adored this gold, thorn-inspired light fitting. I cannot remember who designed it but it is gorgeous, and I coveted it. Many of the exhibitions in the gallery continue until the end of February, and are well worth a visit.


This graphic, neon installation at the Princess Street entrance/exit to the gallery by artist Waqas Khan is entitled Kushamdeed I, 2017, and means "Welcome" in Urdu.

Hetain Patel
until 4th February 2018
Risham Syed
until 25th February
South Asian Design 
until 27th May 2018
Manchester Art Gallery
Mosley Street