Greater Manchester Chamber and CollectArt are hosting a free three-day exhibition by artist Ghislaine Howard from 16-18 August.

‘Towards an Impossible Painting: paintings and drawings in commemoration of Peterloo’ will see Ghislaine Howard’s work displayed in the basement space of Elliot House on Deansgate. Ghislaine will be present from 1pm on the days of the exhibition offering attendees the opportunity to hear her speak about the paintings and discuss the exhibition.

‘Towards an Impossible Painting’ displays artworks that chart Ghislaine Howard’s artistic journey as she engages with images of violence and conflict in the media and the history of art. The exhibition highlights the role of images in the public imagination and acts of memorial and faces the challenge of a seemingly ‘impossible’ gesture: to commemorate unimaginable violence through figurative art.

The exhibition begins with the ‘365 Series’, a group of small paintings created after media coverage of the 2005 London bombings and encompasses works inspired by the great masters Goya, Delacroix and Poussin; as well as those Howard made in response to current news images of the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Ghislaine Howard’s paintings can already be found throughout the Chamber’s offices on an ongoing basis, and its partnership with Howard is a testament to the Chamber’s belief in supporting the creative talent within Greater Manchester.

One of the recurring motifs in Ghislaine Howard’s work is the embrace. In 2018, Ghislaine began work on the ‘Embracing Manchester’ series in response to an extraordinarily brave gesture by a young man commemorating the Manchester Arena attack of 2017.

Speaking about the ‘Embracing Manchester’ series, Ghislaine Howard said: “In the aftermath of the Manchester Arena attack, I was looking at images online and came across a video of a young man standing in St. Ann’s square, where everyone was laying flowers. It was a very emotional atmosphere and people were coming together. He was standing at the side of the square, with his arms outstretched. The man was wearing a backpack and was blindfolded. At his feet was a cardboard sign that said: ‘I’m Muslim and I trust you, do you trust me enough for a hug?’”

Showing ‘Embracing Manchester’ at Greater Manchester Chamber is a chance for the artist to “make a monumental statement” about the power of the embrace and of human connection. Significantly, it is also a chance for the Chamber to embrace art, and to reiterate its commitment to the people and events of the city.

Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Chamber, said: “I want to take people by surprise and provide top quality art in a work environment.

“As a Chamber, we are embracing the art and creativity that not only celebrates the region’s successes but responds to its challenges, and ultimately, art – like business – is about people.

“With a legacy within Manchester that stretches back 225 years, the Chamber is taking inspiration from one of the region’s most important artists of today, responding to pressing global concerns and crucially reflecting the city region it serves.”


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