‘From the Art of Salford’: an exhibition capable of filling a southerner with Salfordian nostalgia

Own image by Ella Nunn

Having lived in Salford for just six months, it’s difficult to feel an established sense of identity within the city. I walk through the shopping centre almost every day, enjoy venturing out to local greenspaces such as Kersal Wetlands and Peel Park, and often spend my weekends exploring new areas of the city. However, I don’t yet have enough lived experience to feel truly at ‘home’ in Salford.  

Nevertheless, visiting the ‘From the Art of Salford’ exhibition filled me with a sense of nostalgia and Salfordian pride that made me feel as if I’d lived in the city my whole life. I came away from the exhibition wanting to know more about the history of the city and ready to search up some common Salford phrases to start slipping into conversation.  

The exhibition is unassuming – spread out across the walls of the Langworthy Cornerstone community centre; a social hub ran by the people of Salford for the people of Salford. The centre runs a range of weekly events including a warm space for the over-65s, meditation sessions, and a job club drop-in.  

The community space is quite simply the perfect venue for an exhibition that celebrates the work of Salford’s local artists. Its modest and uncomplicated layout in a venue at the heart of the community creates an immediate sense of authenticity.  

The artwork in the exhibition ranges from colourful abstract pieces to delicate watercolour paintings of local landmarks, to bold portraits of iconic Mancunian figures. The works are grouped by the artists and are spread out in a trail across the walls of the centre.  

The exhibition is unique in that both professional and amateur artists from across the city can simply turn up and display their work.

It is a true celebration of local talent, and the artists can put their work up for sale if they wish.  

There are also short resumes from each artist which includes information about their work, background, and inspirations. I really enjoyed this personal touch and had a great time learning more about each creator as I appreciated their art.  

It’s difficult to choose a favourite artist when each separate piece portrayed and generated uniquely distinct thoughts and emotions.  

Chelsea Entwistle – Salford Precinct’s first ever “Artist in Residence” – has a range of her work on display at the exhibition. Her pieces range from bold, colourful abstract pieces to darker, more Lowry-esque landscapes.  

Artwork by Chelsea Entwistle – images by Ella Nunn.

The way she encapsulates the essence of Salford in every single one of her pieces – whether it be in an abstract collage or a painting of the shopping precinct – is something to marvel. Her modern and fearless art style demonstrates her pride in the city, and this really comes across in each piece.  

Another artist whose work stood out to me was Alan Moss. The artist is a born and bred Salfordian who discovered his love for art in 1975 then rediscovered it in 2019 during lockdown. He primarily uses pen and pencil to produce realistic monochromatic sketches.  

A sketch of L.S. Lowry and of a homeless person on the street, both by Alan Moss – image by Ella Nunn.

It must be a great feeling to rediscover your passion and then have the chance to showcase and celebrate your work in a public space. The way that ‘From the Art of Salford’ has brought these creatives from a range of different backgrounds together is a real strength of the overall exhibition.

Some of my favourite pieces were photographs taken by Gina Melke. She aims to capture “the beauty in passing moments of everyday life.” Her works include an image of a greasy spoon café, a woman playing bingo in Eccles, and a mobility scooter parked outside the Winston Pub.  

A range of artwork by Gina Melke – Image by Ella Nunn.

These photographs filled me with a sense of Salfordian nostalgia. I immediately wanted to find the nearest greasy spoon, local pub, or bingo hall and immerse myself in the culture these images depicted.  

Tony Easom is the exhibition organiser and has a range of his own work on display. His pieces include bold portraits of iconic Mancunian figures such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Duncan Edwards.  

Portraits by Tony Easom – Image by Ella Nunn.

Tony’s painting of The Union Tavern – a pub on Liverpool Street in Salford, was my favourite of his pieces. I really enjoyed the artwork that focused on buildings and areas of Salford that many would be likely to overlook in day-to-day life.  

‘The Union Tavern Liverpool St Salford’ by Tony Easom – own image.

This painting once again generated feelings of nostalgia that had me ready to head to my nearest pub, grab a pint, and start up a chat with the regulars.

All in all, ‘From the Art of Salford’ is simply not to be missed. The exhibition generates enough joy and warmth to thaw even the coldest southern heart. 

‘From the Art of Salford’ runs until June and there is plenty more art to explore and artists to discover there.

To find out more about the exhibition, watch this video and visit the Facebook page here.

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