Wandering and rediscovering the open-air art gallery which is Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a lovely excuse to get out of the house and feel some semblance of freedom.
Grab a coffee, (@federalcoffee @compianobakery are doing takeaway) and get stuck in, and maybe a little lost...
Akse (pronounced Axe) has been hugely influential in Manchester’s street art scene for a since the early 90s. Known for his hyper-realistic depictions of famous faces alongside some of his own sons, by this point his work has become instantly recognisable.
Akse’s pieces do what is difficult to do even on a canvas, they capture a moment of intensity between the piece and the viewer. His work connects with you. He’s particularly talented at capturing emotion in the eyes of his faces, and one of his most recent works is no exception to this: a mural of Debra Williams, an Operating Department Practitioner at Manchester’s Royal Infirmary. AKSE wanted to go in a different direction to the superhero angle in his celebration of the NHS. His tribute is sincere, authentic and powerful. Exactly what we need right now.
His latest painting, a tribute to victim of Police brutality, George Floyd has become a poignant memorial on the streets of Manchester. @akse_p19
Polish-born now Manchester based street artist, Tankpetrol is known for his highly detailed work combining stencil and freehand spray painting. His work on our tour was painted as part of the Cities for Hope project, when the artists were tasked with painting something inherently Mancunian. Tankpetrol went with a stunningly stoic mural of the famously Mancunian Anthony Burgess with a quote from A Clockwork Orange. There since 2016, perhaps the quote “We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.” has made anyone think twice about painting over it. We love an artistic existential crisis. Real Horrorshow. @tankpetrol
Qubek’s work can be found all over Manchester’s Northern Quarter and beyond. Known for his work ’22 bees’, which was honoured the 22 victims who died during the tragic terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in 2017. His work is versatile, and often plays around with surrealism when he’s not using his art to explicitly express himself. His piece in Stevenson Square is a painted version of a beautiful mural drawn by illustrator Rebecca Strickson, campaigning for the release of Ahmed Mansoor, who was jailed in the UAE for his work revealing human rights atrocities. An important message beautifully conveyed.
Some more street art pieces in Manchester worth seeing...
Check out our Brighton street art tour too!