Two artists are leaving 240 beautiful ‘gifts to the city’ for Mancs to find over the next two weeks, with the aim of reminding us to embrace our stories of loss and self-worth. Hidden in the nooks and crannies of the city centre, ceramicist Rachel Ho and artist and designer Micah Purnell will leave 120 Kintsugi pots and 120 You Are Enough oak engravings, which the public are invited to find, and keep them as gifts.
Rachel Ho is a ceramicist, who has exhibited nationally including London. Her work is inspired by Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese method of mending broken pottery with gold, resulting in more beautiful and precious pots.
Rachel explains: “The pots symbolise the fragility of our lives, the scars are then filled with gold lustre; expressing the mystery of new beginnings and new life even in our deepest pain. The pots represent all our stories of loss and reflect the beauty of hope, healing and renewal. I am drawn to clay’s delicate nature. My aim is to make work that evokes a sense of beauty and mystery. Just as ancient pots have told stories for thousands of years, I aim to use my pots to tell stories of healing.”
Micah Purnell, whose clients include The Guardian, Elbow and the NHS, is a text based artist who has exhibited in group shows alongside Turner prize winner Douglas Gordan and global street artist JR. The award-winning artist and designer, renowned for his typographic work that took over Wembley Park during the Euros works to bring the humanities to public spaces. His well known phrase ‘You are Enough’ has appeared across the city over the last few years as giant banners and billboards.
He said: “My work is a lot about togetherness and self-worth. The oak reminders are made by Chapel-in-the-fields who use wood as a vehicle to work with people who have mental health vulnerabilities. I hope the phrase ‘You Are Enough’ will help people to cut themselves some slack from the ever demanding voices in society and recognise the spark of beauty in themselves.”
The Passion Art project, entitled ‘Gift to the City’, is dedicated to founder Lesley Sutton, who, after five years of living with terminal illness, is drawing very close to the end of this life. Lesley founded Passion Art to build bridges between sacred and secular spaces through art. The project aims to help people feel seen and less alone, to recognise we all have our daily battles and to create a sense of hope and healing.
Each gift as part of the trail will be accompanied by an invite to share anonymously how the artworks resonated with those who find them on the Gift to the City website where you’ll be able to read stories of difficulty and hope as the artworks are found. The art will be placed on the streets of Manchester between July 18 and 29.