Manchester is often on my mind.
All month I’ve been working on paintings inspired by the city. Focusing on my home city already, it’s impossible for me not to say something about the atrocious attack on Monday.
My thoughts and prayers are obviously with those directly involved.
No words I can say will ever be enough. I cannot begin to comprehend what they must be feeling and going through. May you be surrounded by love and supported in your grief. I hope that you receive all you need to recover from injuries and adjust to new circumstances.
I’ve never been more proud of Manchester and my fellow Mancunians.
They have responded with such dignity and love. Evident in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and beyond.
It’s impossible to think of the Monday assault without feeling personally attacked.
Those are the streets I first wandered. The shops where I expanded my record collection and bought my clothes. Trivial things, perhaps, but normal life. My education was there, my family and friends are still there. My ancestors helped build the city. That innocent people, especially children, were hurt in my home city would be as unthinkable to them as it is to me. I could go on. Like many I was moved by Longfella’s poem, the words resonating.
What can I do from this distance?
I’ve struggled with this post. Life goes on, even after something as awful as this, and while those directly involved must find a way to grieve, adapt and move forward in their own time, the rest of us have a responsibility to learn the lessons and carry on. To not let this awful event prevent us from living our lives but also to do all we can to prevent such things happening in future. I don’t pretend to have any answers to that, but hope and pray that those who do will be listened to.
All I can do is carry on with what I do, create art.
This week Great Ancoats Street has been my focus with the former Daily Express Building taking centre stage. A building that was once a source of information during other times of local and national grief. The precursor to the internet. Now offices. I’ve found creating art in times of duress has a therapeutic value, especially following bereavement. It’s behind my decision to train as an occupational therapist. Sometimes the body needs to be active but the brain needs to follow it’s own thought processes. Art allows that process.
Manchester has shown that love is the only response to hate. Love coupled with hard graft. It’s the Manchester way, how they coped after the ’96 bomb and how they will cope now. Not destruction but creation.
This is my creation…
Great Ancoats Street.
Its creation was accompanied by many thoughts. Some of which I’ve shared.
I can think of no finer words to finish with than Longfella’s final words at the end of his poem
Choose love Manchester*.
(*Insert any town, city or country you like here)