Manchester City Council

Guest Blog by Cllr Rosa Battle

Public art divides opinion. It creates debate and gets people talking. This is part of the reason why it's so important we have good public art in vibrant and growing cities like Manchester.

This weekend I spent Saturday lunch time in Beswick library with local residents, school children and community groups from East Manchester who were taking part in a special art workshop.  

The session was part of six weeks of workshops leading up to the unveiling of Manchester’s newest piece of public art – Dad’s Halo Effect – which will be the centrepiece of the new community facilities due to open in Beswick this year.

'Dads Halo effect' has been created by Ryan Gander, a British artist who trained in Manchester, lived in Miles Platting and supports Manchester City (no one is perfect).  He is also internationally celebrated as one of the world’s best artists – so having him create a piece of public art for Manchester is a bit like getting Lionel Messi to sign for United.

Despite his international accolades, Ryan is a down to earth northerner who captivated - in part – the lightly sceptical audience about how the piece of art he was making was going to have a positive effect on their lives and help to build on the vibrant community being created in Beswick.

Ryan did this partly through answering questions about the thinking behind 'Dads Halo Effect', but also by teaching us a new card game based on Blackjack – created by Ryan himself, using double sided cards of his own design.

People who lived in the same street, who may never have spoken to each other, found themselves laughing and sharing banter over who was going to win at this novel twist on 21.  No doubt games are still being played in living rooms and school playgrounds in Beswick right now.

As well as creating conversations, public art creates a sense of place – a symbol that is instantly recognisable to visitors and locals alike.  Something unique that puts an area on the map.  ‘Dad's halo effect’ will do just that. It's big, it's bold, it's fun.  It's truly a Mancunian piece of Art.

Ryan is due to open up a new major exhibition of his work at Manchester Art Gallery this week and 'Dads Halo Effect' is due to be installed in September - so you can see his work for yourself and decide what you think.

Some of you may like it, some of you may not, but the most important thing is that you tell someone.  Tell your neighbour, tell your friend, you can even tell me, because without conversation we don't have communities and without our communities we don't have Manchester.


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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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