Visitors to the new Art Trail, which launches in Old Trafford on Saturday 15 May, are invited to wonder at the 30ft high tree of life, marvel at beautiful technicolour earth child Gladys, and take in a cornucopia of birds, bees, rainbows and strawberries.
The trail, masterminded by OT Creative Space and funded by Arts Council England, has seen local artists work with the community to create six individual large scale murals. Their designs have been painted onto walls and buildings around the area, including in Seymour Park and on Ayres Road.
Botanical Garden on Henrietta Street is a mural by Northern Quarter favourite Qubek (Russ Meehan). It remembers the 19th century Manchester Botanic Gardens that once thrived on land that is now the White City retail park. The birds and butterflies represent the people of Old Trafford.
The glorious Gladys – Earth Child (Gladys Street) by Jamie Rennie was adapted from drawings by local children. It uses motifs from other elements of the community response to form the dramatic strawberries and hearts design that sits behind her.
On Stamford Street, Donna Michelle Griffith and Lynda Sterling have combined traditional painting techniques with more contemporary street art styles to create the Tree of Life, whilst Martene Rouke’s Voices of The World on my Doorstep (Cross Street) presents a jigsaw-like image out of bold colours showing the community connecting with each other. It features the words “Hello, how are you?” in a number of community languages.
OT is Jam Packed with Love (Sam Owen Hull) on Blackburn Street represents a number of ideas generated by community consultation, including rainbows, jam, marmalade, bees, blossom and nature. Strawberries are a recurrent theme throughout the artworks, a reference to the strawberry fields that used to cover Old Trafford and to the old Duerrs’ jam factory on Prestage Street, which was demolished in 2010.
With five murals painted directly onto local residents’ houses and a convenience store, the sixth, Together We Are One by Robert Lomas and Becki Miller, resides on a wall in Seymour Park. The mural design features bold colourful letters that form the word ‘Together’. Each letter design is unique and connected to each other to celebrate the diverse communities that live in Old Trafford.
A piece of spoken word by Old Trafford-born artist Isaiah Hull connects the six murals and can be heard on the trail’s website.
Lynda Sterling, trail coordinator, said: “After what has been a very difficult time for everyone, the OT Art Trail has enthused, engaged and brought together people in a way that has exceeded all of our expectations.
“The artists, working closely with the local community despite successive lockdowns, have produced six highly individualistic pieces of work that the whole community can feel proud of.
“We feel confident that the art trail will bring pleasure and be a talking point for many years to come.”
You can pick up a trail map between 12noon-3pm on Saturday 15 May outside OT Creative Space at 27 Ayres Road M16 9WA or find it online at otcreativespace.co.uk