Work by former students of Manchester School of Art goes on display


Manchester’s universities have produced lots of talented people who have gone on to make a huge impact on the arts.

Legacy is an exhibition of work by alumni of the Manchester School of Art, part of Manchester Metropolitan University. I popped along on a wet Thursday evening – is there any other kind?

The first thing that struck me was the awesomeness of the award-winning Benzie Building and the industrial beauty of the gallery itself.

The second thing was the way in which the exhibition brought together current students, alumni and the rest of us to enjoy an evening of art and conversation.

‘What do you think it means?’ the man standing next to me asked, staring straight ahead at the black and white fixture with his arms folded across his chest.

I had no idea, but it got me thinking. What am I looking at and what does it mean?

I got speaking to a lady wearing orange Indian print and taking photographs of the walled artwork. She turned out to be artist and alumnus Kate Bevan.

She described the exhibition as a platform which allows for the voices of all art students, both past and present, to be heard.

Her art taps into the modern generation and makes sure that the issues they’re thinking about and talking about are brought to the fore. Her piece ‘I Am A Human Being’ on the third floor of the exhibition explores displacement, identity and humanity with earphones that play out raw fragments from interviews with five refugee women.

As well as artists who are fresh out of uni hoping to make it to the big time like the talented Lucy Jean Green, the exhibition also features alumni who have moved on from MMU and have become powerhouses in their own right.

Ian Pollock, for example, has enjoyed a long and hugely successful career as an illustrator. His exhibit, which includes unique artwork for The Pixies album, is displayed on the second floor and is well worth checking out.

Whether you’re an artist, wannabe, or just want to rub elbows with some of Manchester’s art graduates, you can get your fix here.

Legacy really does what it says on the tin. It’s an event that allows ex-students the opportunity to have their work seen and current students the opportunity to ask questions and get a better idea of what to expect after graduating.

For the rest of us, the expression ‘art comes out of art’, is a reminder that, alumnus or not, you may walk into the Benzie Building as a sceptic and walk out as the next L.S Lowry.

The Benzie Building, Higher Ormond St, Manchester M15 6BG until 27 January.


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