New sculpture The Manchester Argonaut on display at People’s History Museum

Inspired by the history, symbolism and music of the city, it's a positive depiction of activism and the rights of disabled people
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A new sculpture by internationally acclaimed artist Jason Wilsher-Mills is about to go on display at the People’s History Museum to mark the start of its new programme exploring the history of disabled people’s rights and activism. 

The Manchester Argonaut is a visual feast that explodes with bright colours, intricate patterns, statement tattoos and fantastical accessories.

It draws you in with its creativity and leads you on to discover its message about the activism and rights of disabled people.

Image courtesy of People’s History Museum

Because it’s The Manchester Argonaut, it is also inspired by the history, symbolism and music of the city; it even takes its distinctive stance from Ian Curtis (Joy Division) in celebration of his work to support disabled people. 

“The Manchester Argonaut is a positive and authentic depiction of activism and the rights of disabled people, which are sometimes overlooked by those who see the cost of everything, but the value of nothing, including human lives,” said Jason.

“It is very fitting that it will first go on display at People’s History Museum as a place of activism and where ideas worth fighting for are championed.”

Image courtesy of People’s History Museum

One of the first visitors to see the sculpture was Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester.

“It was a privilege to meet Jason and to see some of his incredible work and the way that he is carrying forward messages of activism in his art,” he said.

“You cannot help but be uplifted by The Manchester Argonaut, which is full of references to Manchester’s music and history and which also boldly represents disabled people’s activism.”

Image courtesy of People’s History Museum

A number of community groups fed into the creative process that went into developing ideas for The Manchester Argonaut as part of a project funded by Arts Council England. Workshops were held with Venture Arts, Teamwork Trust, Oakley Grange, Starlight Arts, St Hugh’s School and 20-21 Visual Arts Centre.

This is not Jason’s first Argonaut – so called because he was named after Jason from Jason and the Argonauts – with the collection of his spectacular figures growing and having been exhibited in galleries and sculpture parks around the country.

The Manchester Argonaut will be exhibited from Saturday 16th July 2022 to Sunday 28th January 2024 at People’s History Museum.

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