Manchester Open Exhibition 2020: the latest success of HOME Mcr is waiting for you!

The Manchester Open Exhibition 2020 of HOME Manchester brings to light 450 local artists based in Greater Manchester until March 29, 2020.

Manchester Open Exhibition 2020. ©Johanna Gayraud/February 2020

Paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, digital and mixed media, video and audio are all displayed next to each other in the bright spacious HOME gallery in surprising harmony. The Manchester Open Exhibition 2020 brilliantly shows that Greater Manchester is home to hundreds of unknown talents as well as established artists. As you walk into the main gallery, you will discover on the left-hand side of the first pan one of the photographs by the established street photographer Lee Jeffries — untitled ‘Tommy’. It is hung few centimetres away from the painting of Melissa Radiguet, a 22-year-old student in her final year of a Fine Arts degree. That’s the beauty of the exhibition format from Victorian times: arts become accessible to everyone.

Manchester Open Exhibition 2020. ©Johanna Gayraud/February 2020

Bren O’Collaghan, curator at HOME, initiated the idea of the open-submission format to represent the diverse talent bubbling in the city and its surroundings. Amateurs, artists, or art novices of all ages and backgrounds in Greater Manchester had until the beginning of last October to submit their artwork. Then, every piece was subject to the approval of the selection committee composed of curators based in Greater Manchester such as Jamil Abdulkader, Monique Jarret, Anne-Louise Kershaw, Bren O’Callaghan, Mario Popham, Kate Vokes, and Helen Wewiora.

As Anne-Louise Kershaw, member of the selection committee, has correctly pointed out: “all the work together on the walls feels very optimistic and democratic, this is what Greater Manchester is saying through its art right now”.

The diversity it supports has abstract pieces contrast with representational art, which often has a more explicit message. The anonymous Mancunian artist, Mancsy, created the screen print ‘I Was A Stranger’ especially for the exhibition, covering the issue of homelessness. The A1 scale print celebrates the people and charities who help people facing homelessness across the city. “I wanted to use the platform to expose the dialogue around homelessness to new audiences. I had felt helpless in the face of people suffering on the streets, and while I felt artworks weren’t going to change the status quo I thought I could develop some dialogue around the issue.” This conventional medium of drawing contrasts with the usual creative practice of the artist, who gives away limited edition of screen prints around the city in a game of #finderskeepers on the social media.

Manchester Open Exhibition 2020. ©Johanna Gayraud/February 2020

The open exhibition was more successful than expected, as they received more than 2,000 submissions. One in four of the submissions has been selected to be part of the exhibition, so about 544 different works from 450 Manchester based artists are displayed across the venue. Inevitably, the evening opening on January 17th was a great success with about 1,600 visitors and hundreds waiting outside on Tony Wilson place. Anne-Louise Kershaw proudly said that “We thought that David Lynch would be our biggest opening, and we beat David Lynch, which is an honour!”. However, she mentions that “With that many voices in one space, it was normal”.

Manchester Open Exhibition 2020. ©Johanna Gayraud/February 2020

The Manchester Open Exhibition 2020 is one of the brilliant successes of HOME Manchester. Once again, the Mancunian cultural hub in Deansgate demonstrates that everyone is an artist and makes art accessible to as many people as possible.

Manchester Open Exhibition 2020. ©Johanna Gayraud/February 2020

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Johanna Gayraud

MA Student of International Journalism at the University of Salford in MediaCityUK. From France 🇫🇷