Header Image Photo credit – Bruntwood
Exciting new planning documents reveal the possibility of this cherished artwork being reattached to the side of the Afflecks Palace.
The Big Horn’s Nostalgic Homecoming
The Big Horn sculpture, crafted by Cornish artist David Kemp in 1999, once graced the streets of Manchester for nearly two decades.
David was a prominent figure in the world of contemporary art.
Born with a creative spirit, Kemp had already established himself as a respected artist known for his innovative and unconventional approach to sculpture.
During that period, Kemp was recognised for his “Unsound Instruments” series, of which “The Big Horn” sculpture, was a significant part.
This series was a fascinating exploration of musical instruments reimagined as sculptural forms, challenging traditional artistic boundaries.
“The Big Horn,” created in 1999, stood out as the most prominent piece in this series.
It was a testament to Kemp’s ability to blend elements of music, imagination, and visual art.
The sculpture’s intriguing and enigmatic design, described as “not really a saxophone, nor a dragon, coiled on the gothic stump of a Victorian hat factory,” reflected Kemp’s penchant for pushing artistic boundaries and defying categorisation.
Nestled opposite the legendary Afflecks Palace, it became an emblem of the Northern Quarter’s unique charm.
Now, thanks to the owners of Afflecks Palace, Bruntwood, this magnificent sculpture may soon return to its rightful home.
A Promising Project in the Works
While the prospect of The Big Horn’s return fills our hearts with anticipation, it’s important to note that the project is still in its infancy, and nothing is set in stone.
A planning application was submitted just recently, on September 15.
However, it would no doubt be hugely popular with residents who want to bring it home.
The Big Horn’s Journey through Time
The story of The Big Horn’s journey is a testament to Manchester’s ever-evolving landscape and how much times have changed recently.
Once proudly affixed to the façade of the former Church Street car park, the sculpture witnessed the transformation of the area into modern apartments in 2020.
A sign of the times.
The Sculpture’s Majestic New Location
If The Big Horn returns, it will find a new home on the southwest corner of the building, at the intersection of Tib Street and Short Street.
This strategic placement, near Crazy Pedro’s bar, will position the sculpture 5.3 meters (17 feet 4 inches) above the ground, rising to a majestic height of 12.8 meters (42 feet) from street level.
These plans promise to make it an even more striking addition to the Northern Quarter’s landscape.
A Symbol of Artistic Rebellion
The Big Horn has always been a rebellious spirit in the artistic landscape of the Northern Quarter.
As the neighbourhood transformed from an under-utilised retail district in the early 1990s to one of Manchester’s premier shopping and hospitality hubs today, The Big Horn remained a symbol of artistic non-conformity.
Bruntwood’s intervention in 2008, when they “saved” Afflecks Palace from closure, cemented this sculpture’s significance in Manchester’s cultural heritage.
Unraveling the Mystery of The Big Horn
The Big Horn is not just a sculpture; it’s an enigmatic masterpiece that challenges our perception.
David Kemp, its creator, once described it as “not really a saxophone, nor a dragon, coiled on the gothic stump of a Victorian hat factory.
Perhaps it’s a listening device, filtering the left-over sounds from the street corner below, where the past bumps into the future, shooting the lights.”
Its mysterious aura has captivated the hearts and minds of all who have encountered it.
Have Your Say in the Revival
The revival of The Big Horn would be a welcome return to the Northern Quarter, adding to the area’s vibrance.
A consultation period is currently underway, allowing the community to share their thoughts and ideas on this exciting project.
You can contribute to the conversation by participating in the consultation, which will conclude on October 13, 2023.
You can have your say by clicking here
As we eagerly await the outcome of the consultation and the progress of the planning application, it’s clear that this iconic piece of Mancunian history is set to shine once more in the vibrant heart of the city.
Lets hope we can welcome back this beloved symbol of artistic rebellion and creativity.