Manchester International Festival draws to a close in Tony Wilson Place this weekend
Looks set to be a historic weekend at First Street. The emerging city centre neighbourhood - whose flagship arts centre HOME has attracted over 1.8 million culture vultures since its 2015 launch - will host the finale of Manchester International Festival 2017 on Sunday, with a rather special ceremony.
MIF17’s final event, Ceremony, will see Turner Prize-nominated artist Phil Collins ‘return’ philosopher Friedrich Engels to the city where he lived (on-and-off) for two decades in the form of a Soviet-era statue driven across Europe from the Ukraine.
The statue of Engels - who wrote his seminal working class treatise The Condition of the Working Class in England in Manchester, as well as parts of the Communist Manifesto alongside Karl Marx in Chetham's Library - will be unveiled in its new home outside HOME in Tony Wilson Place.
The unveiling will follow a live film by a collection of performers, musicians and citizens and screen in the car park at Bridgewater Hall, mixing footage from the statue’s journey with live coverage of its inauguration. The welcome celebration will also include a soundtrack by Mica Levi and Demdike Stare, a new anthem by Gruff Rhys and stories of today’s Manchester workers filmed by Collins during his year-long MIF17 residency.
Mike Tyler, Head of Asset Management at PATRIZIA UK - owners of First Street - said: “First Street is no stranger to artistic endeavour, with the estate’s anchor occupier HOME hosting theatre and dance shows, independent films and art installations every week. For First Street to become the permanent location of Engels’ statue, a joint art project by MIF, 14-18 NOW and HOME, is testament to the cultural significance First Street is having on the city, and the impact it will continue to make now and for many years to come."