With lockdown spilling over into the New Year, it’s important to remember that one day it’ll be over and when it is, a new array of art exhibitions and galleries will be available for us to explore. With that in mind, here’s a handful of North West exhibitions to look forward to in 2021…

Rooms of our Own | The Pankhurst Centre | Opening TBC

Due to reopen its doors in summer 2021, The Pankhurt Centre will return with a brand new exhibition celebrating and exploring the suffragette movement through the eyes of those who lived alongside Northern icon Emmeline Pankhurst at 62 Nelson Street. Featuring a room that’ll delve into the history of Emmeline, Christabel, Sylvia, Adela and Harry Pankhurst and one which will chronicle the importance and historical significance of the venue itself, Rooms of Our Own aims to inspire a whole new generation of rebels and will be open year-round. Learn more here.

Grayson's Art Club | Manchester Art Gallery | Opening TBC

During the first lockdown in March 2020, artist Grayson Perry led the nation in a weekly televised art club on Channel 4, inviting the nation to reflect upon this unique and universal experience through artistic expression. Showcasing the work of frontline workers, everyday folks and a variety of celebrities, the series emerged as one of the few silver linings from a particularly difficult year and promised a full exhibition of key works at Manchester Art Gallery in October. Unfortunately, COVID had other plans and as such, the opening date of this highly-anticipated exhibition has been temporarily postponed. While Grayson’s Art Club hopes to open its doors later in 2021, audiences can take a virtual tour of the space and its work by visiting the Manchester Art Gallery website.

Joy Yamusangie, Nick Burton and MSR FCJ | HOME | Opening TBC

When lockdown (temporarily) lifted in autumn 2020, Manchester’s art and culture space HOME returned with a bang – bringing us not one – but three – brand new galleries from a trio of colourful and eclectic artists including Joy Yamusangie, Nick Burton and MSR FCJ. Each creative utilises graphics and illustration to reflect upon their own personal experiences of isolation during lockdown, creating work that’s at times abstract, playful – and sometimes both. The venue hopes to welcome visitors into their main gallery space later this year so they can view the work up-close as it was intended to be seen. However in the meantime, you can view a curator-guided video tour by visiting the HOME website.

Nicola Ellis | Castlefield Gallery | March 2021

A new solo gallery from artist Nicola Ellis, featuring sculptures, paintings, site-responsive installations, video, photography and drawing was due to be unveiled at Castlefield Gallery in July 2020 – but like most things, it was forced to postpone. A Manchester-local, Ellis’s work spans creative mediums and takes its cues from the relationship between people, materials and processes – with some creations utilising waste materials to form large sculptures. This new solo show marks the end of Ellis’s placement at Ritherdon & Co Ltd, a steel enclosure manufacturer based in Darwen. As a result, this new collection of work aims to blur the lines between factory and art space. For more information – and to listen to a podcast with Ellis and Castlefield Gallery curator Matthew Pendergast to whet your appetite – visit the Castlefield Gallery website.

Liverpool Biennial | Tate Liverpool | 20 Mar - 6 Jun 2021

The UK’s largest celebration of contemporary art returns to Liverpool in March 2021 (restrictions permitting), giving art-lovers an extensive and much-needed showcase of creativity following a dark few months. The Stomach and the Port is the title of the 2021 Liverpool Biennial, with featured artworks placing a particular focus on the body and ways of connecting with the wider world. Sculptures and wallpaper from Jamaican-born artist Ebony G. Patterson will inspect the history of marginalised groups, while feminist artists Linder and Judy Chicago will present confrontational work exploring the connections between women and their bodies. Visitors can also expect to see surrealist imagery from Ithell Colquhoun and sculptures set in soap from Estonian artist Anu Põder – one of which will slowly dissolve in water throughout the duration of the Biennial. Visit the Tate website for more information and the full artist line-up.

Fri 8 Jan, Image courtesy of Manchester Art Gallery.
Simon Bland
Published on:
Fri 8 Jan 2021