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Manchester is set to move to a different beat over the summer months; the Afro-beat – because the city is to be taken over by art and music from west Africa during its We Face Forward season.
‘Forget everything you think you know about African art,’ proclaim the organisers, who are coordinating exhibitions and performances from 32 artists and a raft of musicians from 11 west-African countries.
Taking over venues and galleries across the city – including the Manchester Art Gallery, Whitworth Art Gallery, the Gallery of Costume and Band on the Wall – We Face Forward will see almost every artistic medium represented across the summer, from sculptural installations to textiles and fashion. There’ll even be an African art bus touring Greater Manchester, getting the outer reaches involved in creative events.
Top draws will include Femi Kuti – the son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti – and his band Positive Force, as well as AfroCubism, a supergroup made of the Buena Vista Social Club and Malian musicians Djelimady Tounkara and Bassekou Kouyate.
Among the displays of works by both new and internationally renowned artists, Square Meal recommends Nyani Quarmyne’s exhibition ‘We Were Once Three Miles from the Sea’, a photo exhibition depicting the effect of climate change on a community living on the Ghanaian coastline.
With the whole country welcoming an influx of many different cultures this summer, Manchester’s plans are some of the most exciting – and colourful.
We Face Forward takes place 2 June-16 September at numerous venues in Manchester. Visit the exhibition website for more information.