TOP 10 | Exhibitions In January & February 2017

From Strawberry Studios to John Hyatt's Rock Art, here's our pick of Manchester's best exhibitions over the next two months

Written by  Confidential Staff | Follow @ | Tuesday, 3 January 2017 15:59

BELOW you'll find ten of the best exhibitions in and around Manchester throughout January and February. Not your bag? Well then how about the Top 10 Gigs & Concerts or Top 10 Theatre & Comedy?


SONIC THE HEDGEHOG | Castle Fine Art | From 2 December

SEGA is commemorating Sonic’s silver anniversary with an exhibition of 25 specially-commissioned works, in partnership with Washington Green Fine Art. Featuring works by some of the UK’s leading contemporary artists - including Robert Oxley, one of Confidential’s 10 Manchester Artists You Need to Know About - the showcase sees the iconic hedgehog take a break from racing through video games as he’s reimagined in mediums spanning neon to aluminium and acrylic on canvas. 

Castle Fine Art, various venues 

DEANNA PETHERBRIDGE | The Whitworth | 2 December - 4 June

With her detailed pen and ink depictions of colonialism and industrialisation, Petheridge challenges preconceptions of fine art; often primarily concerned with painting rather than drawing. Inspired by the diverse landscapes and cultures found from the West to the Far East, the collection spans Islamic design to rustic Umbrian dwellings and Manchester’s industrial cast-iron structures over 40 distinctive pieces. 

The Whitworth, Oxford Road, M15 6ER (10am-5pm, until 9pm Thurs; free). 


WYNFORD DEWHURST: MANCHESTER’S MONET | Manchester Art Gallery | 9 December - 23 April

With the first retrospective of the English impressionist painter and art theorist since his death in 1941, MAG shines a light on the ‘Monet of Manchester’, who grew up here studying law before moving to Paris at 27 to train as an artist. Claude Monet became his principal mentor, reflected in shimmering sunlit paintings such as The Picnic. Also a theorist, Dewford provoked controversy when he claimed that ‘the French artists simply developed a style which was British in its conception.’ 

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL (10am-5pm, Thurs until 9pm; free). 

BE ILLUMINATED | Lowry Hotel | Until 17 January

Think lighting is limited to mundane IKEA lampshades and minimalist fitted spotlights? Wrong. Roger ‘Papi’ Taylor turns the practical into vibrant works of art, with his hand-sculpted light fittings. Mermaids sit alongside neon hearts and daggers, and swallows swoop down walls; accompanied by spray-painted butterflies and even interactive wings. Curated by established art dealers Comme Ca Art, this is one exhibition that promises to be illuminating in more ways than one. 

Lowry Hotel, 50 Dearmans Place, Salford, M3 5LH (daily; free entry).    



One of very few exhibitions devoted to the Muslim contribution to WW1, this exhibition presents a perspective on the events of 1914-1918 not often found in UK history textbooks. With 400,000 Muslim Indian soldiers and tens of thousands of Arabs amongst those contributing to the war efforts, it’s believed at least 89,000 Muslims died fighting on the British side. A virtual tour of the exhibition can also be found online

British Muslim Heritage Centre, College Road, Whalley Range, M16 8BP (various times; free entry). 

GLUT | Holden Gallery | 16 January - 3 March

With over 1.5 billion images uploaded every day, media consumption has never exerted such a huge influence on our lives. And, far from just selfies, over 6 million CCTV cameras throughout the UK mean we often appear on surveillance photography without even knowing it. In the midst of this unprecedented growth, Glut sees various artists make sense of a world teeming with images via topics from (in)visibility to data appropriation. 

Holden Gallery, MMU, Grosvenor Building, Cavendish Street, M15 6BR (Mon-Fri 10am-4.30pm, Thurs until 7pm; free). 


STRAWBERRY 50 | Stockport Museum | 27 January 2017 - 28 January 2018

It’s not only Sonic the Hedgehog celebrating a major anniversary this year, as Strawberry Studios turns 50 with a year-long exhibition of memorabilia and mementoes that celebrates its colourful legacy. For over 25 years, Strawberry was one of the UK’s most important recording studios; frequented by the likes of The Stone Roses, Joy Division and Sir Paul McCartney. The exhibition kicks off with an opening event on 27 January, followed by optional elevenses at a local coffee house. 

Stockport Museum, 30-31 Market Place, SK1 1ES (11am-5pm; free).   

JOHN HYATT: ROCK ART | HOME | 4 February - 29 March

‘John of all Trades’ - artist, musician, punk professor and one third of infamous eighties post-punk band The Three Johns - Hyatt hits HOME with a typically eclectic  exhibition spanning post-death to painting, magic to metamorphosis: exploring our increasingly unstable and challenging relationships to the world around us. Browse through John’s unique comic book collection, enjoy a limited edition of Hyatt-as-a-blend-of-tea and prepare to be surprised and intrigued at every turn… 

HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, M15 4FN (various times; free). 


NEVER GOING UNDERGROUND | People’s History Museum | 25 February - 3 September

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts in England and Wales, a milestone which signified a gradual shift in attitudes towards LGBT+ rights in 1967. PHM’s visionary exhibition comes after almost two years of intensive research into the tumultuous tale of ‘pride and prejudice’, and will be accompanied by a full season of events. With the Alan Turing Law - which was to pardon 75,000 people criminally convicted of homosexuality - talked out of court in October, it’s never been more relevant. 

People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, M3 3ER (10am-5pm; free entry). 

STRANGE AND FAMILIAR  | Manchester Art Gallery | Until 29 May

After a successful stint in London earlier this year, the Barbican’s perceptive exhibition may have been slightly diminished for its temporary Manchester home but all 22 artists are represented nevertheless. Curated by renowned photographer Martin Parr, 200 photos by leading international photographers - from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Bruce Gilden and Evelyn Hoffer - reflect how Britain has been perceived by those outside its borders from the 1930s to the present day: particularly relevant as Brexit calls into question what ‘British’ really means.  

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL (10am-5pm, until 9pm on Thurs; free).  



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