The completed murals of Cities of Hope street art festival, Manchester 2016

Over 9 days in May, the world’s most renowned street artists came to Manchester to stand alongside the oppressed and those that fight at their side. These artists came to force witness to hope… to inspire Manchester City and the rest of the world.

Joined by a team of street artists they created a street gallery of hope, painting powerful pieces of art that transformed Manchester. Their works now leave a lasting legacy and will continue to shine a light, even in the darkest of places and collectively remind us that hope is never lost.

Cities of Hope, in partnership with Forever Manchester, is supporting the following social justice organisations; Back On Track, Lifeshare, Guns to Goods, Partisan Collective, Young Identity, Ancoats Dispensary Trust, Hulme Community Garden Centre, WAST, 42nd Street and Venture Arts.

Talented duo Pichiavo large mural theme is Conflicts. Pichi and Avo painted Hercules fighting the centaur Nessus. They are supporting Guns to Goods, a Community Interest Company that recycles metal from guns for use in the production of creative artifacts. It is an artists’ collective, partnering organisations who actively work within communities to reduce weapons based crime.

“Inhuman barries” – a new mural by Never Crew for Cities of Hope is about immigration and in support of the local solidarity group WASP (Women Asylum Seekers Together). They have a specific focus on championing the voices of women, many of whom come from cultures and communities where the voices of women are not prioritised.

Axel Void theme was Existentialism and worked with his partnered charity Young Identity, that encourages literacy, critical thinking and active citizenship.

“This piece is part of the “Gray” series. Sisyphus, written over the wall, is a king from Greek mythology that was punished by Zeus to roll a boulder up a hill and watch it roll back down, repeating this action for eternity. Albert Camus in 1942 wrote “The Myth of Sisyphus” where he related this punishment to the human condition in the absurd search for meaning. This mural talks about this condition from an existentialist approach. The image portrays a girl having a smile forced by someone’s hands. This proposes a metaphor to the pursuit of happiness and who we are as people. Our redundant ways, throughout history and presently, of masking this futile search” Axel Void

C215 was addressing homelessness which is a massive problem in Manchester. He worked with Lifeshare who are doing vital work as the first point of contact for people on the streets. C215 also paid tribute to the amazing photographer Lee Jeffries in his own city, Manchester, for the sake of Eternal Love.

Human Dignity Is Inviolable” by CASE whose social justice issue was disability supports “Back on Track”, a Manchester charity that enables disadvantaged adults to make lasting, positives changes in their lives. Working with ex-offenders and people who have had problems with alcohol or drugs, homelessness or mental health. The mural by Case is of one of their service users.

´War impact in children lives´ is a mural by Hyuro social justice issue is war children.

“Both armed conflict and violence that trigger affects the lives of many children in different parts of the world. In addition to the direct consequences of war and armed violence they are also indirectly affected by displacement, loss of family and trauma caused by the acts of violence they witness. This wall is intended to give voice to all the lost innocence, all children who are fighting for their own survival, unable, in front of the eyes of all, to live a childhood as they deserve.” – Hyuro

Phlegm creating his city in a bottle in support of Ancoats Dispensary Trust. The trust began as a reactionary, grassroots movement in 2012 to the proposed demolition of the Grade II Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary. A local group of concerned residents from this moment dedicated themselves to the future restoration of the Dispensary and reintegration as a community beacon.

Faith47 large mural pays homage to human intimacy as well asserting support for LGBT rights.
The mural is brought to life at night with a geometric light installation exploring shadows as not merely the absence of light. The mural also forms part of Faiths ongoing series, 7.83hz.

Martin Whatson’s social justice issue is the environment and paints a tree representing Hulme. Hulme provides open green space to knit together the fractured community, providing a focal point and somewhere to experience and learn about plants and the natural world.

Tank Petrol new mural is based on a portrait of Anthony Burgess – the author of “A Clockwork Orange”.

Dale Grimshaw was linked with Venture Arts in Hulme helping disabled artists. Again the imagery is from Papua NG but is dedicated to the West Papua people who are illegally occupied and brutalised by the Indonesian Government.

Nomad Clan decided upon the social justice issue of ‘Suicide within the male population under 45’
Nomad Clan were inspired by the documentary ‘Grayson Perry -All Man’ which explores how contemporary masculinity shapes the lives and expectations of men in Britain today.

Please donate to support them and our other social justice partners. It’s why the artists came over and gave their time and hearts to the project. It’s about more than just the artwork. You can make a difference with just a small donation.
Text COHM10 £1 (£2, £3, £5, £10 etc) to 70070 or donate online here

Photos courtesy of Henrik Haven



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