The Manchester Argonaut is about to go on display at People’s History Museum (PHM) to mark the start of its new programme exploring the history of disabled people’s rights and activism. It is the work of internationally acclaimed artist Jason Wilsher-Mills and will be exhibited from Saturday 16 July 2022 to Sunday 28 January 2024.
Artist Jason Wilsher-Mills says, “The Manchester Argonaut is a positive and authentic depiction of activism and the rights of disabled people, which are sometimes overlooked by those who see the cost of everything, but the value of nothing, including human lives. It is very fitting that it will first go on display at People’s History Museum as a place of activism and where ideas worth fighting for are championed.”
One of the first visitors to see the sculpture was Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, who said, “It was a privilege to meet Jason and to see some of his incredible work and the way that he is carrying forward messages of activism in his art. You cannot help but be uplifted by The Manchester Argonaut, which is full of references to Manchester’s music and history and which also boldly represents disabled people’s activism.”
The Manchester Argonaut is a visual feast that explodes with bright colours, intricate patterns, statement tattoos and fantastical accessories. It draws you in with its creativity and leads you on to discover its message about the activism and rights of disabled people. Because it’s The Manchester Argonaut, it is also inspired by the history, symbolism and music of the city; it even takes its distinctive stance from Ian Curtis (Joy Division) in celebration of his work to support disabled people.
A number of community groups fed into the creative process that went into developing ideas for The Manchester Argonaut as part of a project funded by Arts Council England. Workshops were held with Venture Arts, Teamwork Trust, Oakley Grange, Starlight Arts, St Hugh’s School and 20-21 Visual Arts Centre. This is not Jason’s first Argonaut – so called because he was named after Jason from Jason and the Argonauts – with the collection of his spectacular figures growing and having been exhibited in galleries and sculpture parks around the country.
People’s History Museum’s opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, from 10.00am to 5.00pm. For the school summer holidays the museum will be open seven days a week (from Monday 25 July until early September). The museum and its exhibitions are free to visit with a suggested donation of £5. To find out more visit phm.org.uk, and keep up to date with the latest news by signing up to receive PHM’s e-newsletter, reading the blog, or following the museum on social media on Twitter @PHMMcr, Facebook @PHMMcr, and Instagram @phmmcr.
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Images are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/2fdg011ag8hqd4m0i8ru6/h?dl=0&rlkey=qgn1stkennxzarxy60ko4jh8o
The Manchester Argonaut
Funded by Arts Council England (ACE).
People’s History Museum
People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester is the national museum of democracy. It shares stories about the struggle for equity and equality, celebrates radical history and provides space to explore contemporary issues through marginalised voices. PHM’s vision is of a fairer society where people’s voices and actions make a difference and its mission is to encourage people to care more about community and society, to speak up and take a stand on the issues that matter to them.
PHM is more than a museum about campaigning; it is a museum that campaigns, using its voice to encourage people to take action to bring about positive change.