Street art competition to transform landmark building with huge mural celebrating suffragettes

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A major street art competition to transform the face of an Old Trafford building has been launched today by property company Bruntwood.

Trafford House on Chester Road will be adorned with a 38 metre (124ft) high mural inspired by the suffragette movement and Sylvia Pankhurst, who was born nearby.

The artwork will be seen by thousands of commuters every day and from over a mile away. The landmark building overlooks the pedestrian route between the Old Trafford tram stop and Manchester United’s Old Trafford football ground and overlooks major arterial routes flowing in and out of Manchester.

Bruntwood is looking for submissions from artists from across the UK to create a beautiful piece of art on the east-facing end of the building to mark the centenary of the female vote. Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst was born metres from the site.

“The spirit of revolution and resilience which informed the suffragette movement is incredibly powerful and inspiring,” said Kate Vokes, Bruntwood’s director of culture.

“This mural will pay tribute to the essence of that movement and recognise the personal sacrifice and strength of character which gave life to this critical struggle for equal rights for women.

“A keen artist, Sylvia was named Best Female Artist of the Year by the Manchester School of Art where she was a student in 1901. As such, it seems appropriate to be recognising her extraordinary legacy with an artwork that we hope will bring inspiration and encouragement to the local community, people working at Trafford House, and the thousands of commuters who pass by every day.

“We are looking for bold, exciting, beautiful designs that are expressive, aesthetically interesting and that show a reflective and personal connection between the artist and the subject. Given the scale of the building, the design should be able to stand the test of time.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for a talented and creative artist to create a dynamic piece of art that will enliven and transform the landscape and contribute something new to the community and Greater Manchester’s thriving cultural offering.”

The competition is open to all ideas, mediums and styles. The artwork needs to make reference to Sylvia Pankhurst, but should primarily be led by a modern, creative and conceptual approach which has a strong emphasis on the importance of the artwork itself.

The company will provide a suspended cradle for the required duration of works.  Entries  will be judged by an expert panel which will include Louise Sutherland, Chair of the Pankhurst Trust.

The competition launches today and closes on August 12.

Louise Sutherland, Chair of the Pankhurst Trust, said: “Sylvia Pankhurst’s story and legacy is an incredibly powerful one, that there is much to learn from. She was driven by a determination to improve the lives of all women, and her self-sacrifice to bring about that change was immense.  Even her work as an artist was connected to this quest, so it’s wonderful that this project will not only celebrate Sylvia in her home town, but will do so through art.”

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