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Review: Open Manchester 2024 Exhibition @ HOME

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Featured image and gallery: Anna Klekot

Political ping pong, Furby sculptures and a Metrolink ‘mettie’ man doll are among the artwork featured at this year’s Manchester Open exhibition. On display at HOME MCR, the showcase celebrates over 473 Manchester creatives across different art mediums.

This year’s exhibition was full of whimsical, colourful pieces which complimented each other throughout the display, whilst also reserving a spot for some personal heart wrenching installations.

Out of the array of mediums, textiles dominated the scene. From fun abstract rugs to the Tracey Emin-esque collection of tapestries, the material was utilised in a range of  different ways. The ones which stood out in particular were the 1970s inspired patchwork piece, which featured a juxtaposition of embroidered words, and Sophia Gardiner’s Women of Discord.

Becks Gio Joe’s Love letter to Claude was what appeared to be a delicate handwritten letter, but their work represents the speaker’s confession to their lover Claude. Initially appearing as quite mundane amongst the other pieces, it only revealed its purpose once read. This piece was a gem hidden in plain sight.

Amongst the written pieces was a framed collage by Kate Wood titled My friend Julie did not have a UTI, showcasing what could have been if her friend was alive for this year’s exhibition which they were planning to enter together. Kate’s collection of images and texts raises awareness for misdiagnoses around ovarian cancer.

Aside from a white square canvas with ‘What is art, Am I Now an Artist :)’ written on it, there were also a lot of amazing paintings such as James Bullimore’s oil painting of a cowboy titled 9hr:15min:25sec, which explores his OCD. The title of the painting represents the time it took the artist to continuously work on it from memory immediately after the performance he watched.

Honourable mentions include the huge triptych titled In the Spirit of Rushcart by Titus Agbara which depicts groups of people in the park on a busy summer’s day, as well as Johnny Hume’s Cottage Queen. This oil painting was an aristocratic, renaissance era portraiture that portrayed a modern day drag queen in a public toilet.

Manchester Open 2024 is at HOME until 28 April, 2024.

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Anna Klekot

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