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Bury New Road portrait exhibition chronicles “a real snapshot of all Mancunian walks of life”

Prestwich Church Institute is set to host a new pop-up photographic exhibition featuring 50 people from all walks of life who live, work or play along Bury New Road. 

The road runs through  Manchester, Salford and Bury boroughs and is a beautiful eclectic place featuring many people from different faiths and walks of life.

This amazing new exhibition offers a unique snapshot into the lives of people who live, work and worship on the Street.

All of the people featured are residents, from homeless people, cafe bar and chip shop owners, clergymen (including the Bishop of Manchester), firefighters from Broughton Fire Station firefighters and dozens more to make for a really interesting project.

The photo portraits have been created by artist Louise Garman, who was commissioned by the Bury New Road heritage project.

She spoke to I Love Manchester to explain why she had put together this exhibition.

She said: “I was brought up in the area, so I know it well.

“It’s been a year-long project to take 50 portraits of the people along Bury New Road.

“It’s such a brilliant place. There’s so many characters on the road, it has been really good fun to document for this exhibition.

“All the fireman even bought the engine out when I went down to snap them.

Broughton Fire Station firefighters

“It’s such a diverse and multicultural area, I think it really celebrates the essence of Manchester.

“We’ve tried to capture that the best we can.”

You can check out Louise’s website by clicking here.

Louise has exhibited her work at a wide array of places, space and galleries, including for the Royal Society of Women Artists at The Mall Galleries, London, the GM Arts Prize in Manchester and everywhere from the historic Hanging Bridge at Manchester Cathedral to a shop unit at Salford Precinct, to The Flourish Award for Excellence in Printmaking 2020 at The Woodend Gallery in Scarborough to Stockholm, Oviedo and Paris. Louise said that they tried their best to include everyone, which was no mean feat!

J Star – Jaynie Powsney

She continued:  “We tried to cover everyone who lived in the area and all the faiths: The Greek Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Synagogue, the Mosques, Orthodox Jewish people. It’s a real melange of faiths which in itself is a beautiful thing.

“In amongst the religious people in the area, we spoke to shop keepers, and some of them are real local characters that make it such a brilliant spot to live in.

“We also spoke to and photographed a few homeless people in the area.

“What surprised me is how well knit the community is. How enthusiastic they are about the area even though parts are run down, they are trying really hard to make it into a wonderful community. And they are absolutely succeeding.

“The spirit is infectious. There’s a lot of mixed races and faiths but the respect everyone has for each other made this a brilliant experience and a great thing to be part of.

“After four months we got into Strangeways and did some paintings and portraits with a group of men in Strangeways Prison too.

“This is a great snapshot of the eclecticism of the city. We’re a bit of a mixed bunch but we’re ace.

“People’s enthusiasm and warmth really surprised me. They all were buzzing to be involved.

“There are some rough parts, but the people are wonderful. It undulates from real poverty to wealthy areas, to a bustling commerce community, to a prison!

“It’s a real snapshot that showcases all of Manchester from all walks of life.”

You can see the exhibition at:

Bury New Road

50 Portraits
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th February
12-4pm Prestwich Church Institute
368 Bury New Road
Entry is free

You can check out their website here.

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