New Manchester public art installation to thank NHS staff and key workers

Paul Crone from ITV Granada Reports speaks to organiser Charlie Langhorne

A spectacular public art installation has been launched to thank NHS staff and all key workers for their ongoing courage and dedication during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gratitude, in St Peter's Square, features 51 sculptures designed by individual artists from different regions.

Enclosed by mirrors on two sides, it creates infinite reflections of the stunning artwork, highlighting the endless dedication from NHS carers and key workers across the country.

The mirrors also ensure visitors become part of Gratitude, creating an immersive experience and reflecting the contributions of the entire population.

Created by Wild in Art, the team behind Manchester's award-winning Bee in the City art trail in 2018, Gratitude aims to connect people and communities, artists and businesses, NHS staff and all key workers, inviting people to come together to reflect and show their appreciation.

The free exhibition, curated in partnership with creative ambassador Dame Zandra Rhodes, will also reflect the stories and contributions of this unprecedented year through beautiful art and audio which will represent the UK's nations and regions.

Sculptures from Manchester-based artists are included in the installation Credit: David Oates Photography

Manchester artist Lei-Mai LeMaow's sculpture Lockdown tells two different stories of lockdown.

Salford's Guy McKinley explores his 5 year old child's experience of the pandemic and how it differed to his own childhood in Double Bubble, Toil and Trouble.

Hammo's sculpture Faces of Lockdown depicts a collection of personalities from the last year and Manchester's Jodie Silverman pays tribute to the performing arts industry in Creative Resilience.

Designers and artists also hailing from Manchester including Fernandes Makes with her sculpture Take Care of Each Other and Grow which is inspired by hobbies and the new things we have learnt and enjoyed during lockdown.

Karis Viola Lambert's Us which pays tribute to all of the brave key workers that have kept the UK running throughout the pandemic and Nomad Clan's Digital Conscience explores digital identity, virtual reality, over stimulation and value systems during this challenging time.

Julie Hesmondhalgh Credit: Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images

Manchester actors Christopher Eccleston, Julie Hesmondhalgh, John Thomson, Ciaran Griffiths and Shobna Gulati have leant their voices to a series of real-life stories and poems about key workers for the installation.

Visitors will be able to listen via the Gratitude App and website.

Visitors will need to book free tickets to see the installation, which will stay in Manchester until 12th September before visiting Edinburgh and London.

The sculptures will then be auctioned off and substantial proceeds will be donated to NHS Charities Together which supports the NHS, including its hospitals, ambulance services, community and mental healthcare providers and vital partnerships.