HUNDREDS OF PORTRAITS OF GREATER MANCHESTER RESIDENTS ARE UNVEILED AT AVIVA STUDIOS FOR ‘THE WELCOME
Preview by Steve Cooke
One of the centrepieces of The Welcome, a nine-day festival curated by Greater Manchester residents, Inside Out: This is Manchester features larger than life portraits of over 200 local people and is part of the global Inside Out Project created by world-renowned artist JR.
Programmed over two years by Factory Assembly, a cross-section of Greater Manchester residents, The Welcome (11-19 Nov) is an invitation from local people to celebrate the new cultural space that has opened in the heart of their city. Ranging from a full-day Mancunian street-culture takeover of rap battles, workshops and skateboarding demonstrations to a reflective group performance inspired by Tai chi and Qigong, The Welcome offers an array of opportunities for local people to come together, take part, and explore different parts of the building.
Other highlights of The Welcome include Kalabanté Productions’ Afrique en Cirque filling the venue for four nights with high energy acrobatics, dance, live Afrojazz and traditional West African instruments; and Balete Spacecraft, a sprawling spaceship-like installation by Filipino artist-designer Leeroy New which takes waste materials and transforms them into a colourful tangle of roots, inspired by the sacred Balete tree of the Philippines, highlighting the universal issues of waste and consumerism.
Designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Aviva Studios is a global destination for arts, music and culture located at the heart of the new St John’s neighbourhood in Manchester. The development is led by Manchester City Council, with backing of £99.05m from HM Government and £7m National Lottery funding from Arts Council England. Programmed and operated by Factory International, the organisation behind Manchester International Festival, Aviva Studios will host a year-round programme of original productions and special events across all artforms – from major exhibitions and concerts to intimate performances and immersive experiences.
Inside Out: This is Manchester
11 – 19 Nov, 10am-11pm
Inside Out: This is Manchester comprises large-scale black and white photographs of more than 200 Greater Manchester residents aged from 5 to 90, taken by local photographers Ngozi Ugochukwu, Rebecca Lupton, The Mancorialist and Audrey Albert. Photographs will cover the floor of the undercroft at the entrance to Aviva Studios so audiences can get up close. Part of the global Inside Out Project created by world-renowned artist JR – over the past decade, more than 500,000 people spanning across 152 countries and territories have participated with portraits pasted in public spaces as a way to promote ideas and awareness about social and political issues.
11- 19 Nov, 10am-11pm
A sprawling spaceship-like installation by Filipino artist-designer Leeroy New which takes waste materials and transforms them into a colourful tangle of roots, inspired by the sacred Balete tree of the Philippines, highlighting the universal issues of waste and consumerism. Made from reclaimed hazel and willow woods that are native to the region as well as plastics found across our city, Balete Spacecraft uses materials from Manchester to highlight a universal issue. Leeroy New’s work is also a commentary on colonialism, who gets to use up resources and who is left to deal with the waste.
Factory Assembly will be in conversation with Leeroy New at 1pm on 12 November (free).
11- 19 Nov, 10am-11pm
Under Construction is all about paying tribute to the people behind the scenes who have built Aviva Studios. Over the course of the construction, iconic photographer Ming de Nasty has captured portraits of the workers who have brought the space to life. A series of life-size portraits of the workers will be displayed throughout The Welcome. Ming has been a practicing photographer for the past 30 years, blending her work as an artist developed through numerous commissions and exhibitions with extensive work in social engagement, education and outreach.
Factory Assembly will be in conversation with Ming de Nasty at 6.30pm on 11 November (free).
Afrique en Cirque
Sat 11, 6pm / Sun 12, 2pm / Tues 14, 7pm / Wed 15, 7pm
Standard Tickets £16 / Affordable Tickets £8 & £10
Founded by multidisciplinary artist Yamoussa Bangoura, Kalabanté Productions celebrate African culture, youth, joy and the diaspora. For four nights only, they roll into town ready to transport you to another continent with Afrique en Cirque – a multi-sensory extravaganza inspired by daily life in Guinea. Get lost in colourful costumes and scenery, as daring acrobats perform gravity-defying moves and dancers take you on a journey through Guinea – all to the sounds of live Afrojazz and traditional West African instruments, from percussion to kora. Symbolising the strength, agility and joy of contemporary African youth culture, this is a show that puts powerful storytelling at the heart of the circus. Kalabanté Productions will run a free dance workshop for beginners 11.30am, 11 November.
Street Culture Takeover
Celebrating the different cultures that make up this great city – from hip hop to the latest in dance and fashion – Factory International is hosting a full-day Mancunian street culture takeover at Aviva Studios from the Social to Riverside Square and the Warehouse. Drop in and watch artists go head-to-head in rap battles and skateboarders land that perfect kickflip and join a big celebration in the Warehouse – featuring performances and BMX and skate demos. PROJEKTS MCR will run free skateboarding sessions for kids on both weekends of The Welcome, (10,11, 18, 19 November – 10am-1pm)
Inspired by the ancient Chinese martial arts, Tai chi and Qigong, Deep Flow is a mass participatory group performance led by local dance group Company Chameleon that embraces the connection between mind and body. To take part everyone is invited to attend choreography workshops, taking place in communities across Greater Manchester, online via social media, and at Aviva Studios, culminating in a mass meditative performance at Aviva Studios on the final day of The Welcome where everyone is invited to join in.
For the full programme of events visit factoryinternational.org/whats-on
The Factory Assembly, curators of The Welcome said, "We don’t all have a background in the arts but we all have a passion for the city, our local communities and for bringing people together to have fun. It's been incredible working with such a talented team of people and we’re excited to see the vision come to life! Whether its electrifying local music acts, stunning circus performances, skateboarders landing that perfect kickflip or visual celebrations of our community leaders, The Welcome has something for everyone. We want Aviva Studios to be a safe space to come together and make bonds and new friends - it's ours to do what we wish so let's make things happen and bring opportunities along the way!”
Open from 10am to 11pm Tuesday to Sunday Aviva Studios there will be free pop-up performances, family-friendly activities and workshops for all ages across the building from the foyers to the orchestra pit, throughout the nine-day Welcome programme. For the full programme of events visit factoryinternational.org/whats-on