Gratitude brings sculptures by acclaimed UK artists to St Peter’s Square

An Oscars-esque sculpture installation has dropped down in Manchester. It's here as part of a UK tour in celebration of the NHS staff and key workers who valiantly did their part during the pandemic.

Gratitude, an art installation of decorated figure-like sculptures by global public art producer Wild in Art, launched in Birmingham on August 20 and will make its way across the UK taking in cities including Edinburgh, London and St Peter’s Square in Manchester (3-12 September).

The free-to-visit installation will feature 51 sculptures designed by a diverse group of renowned Manchester-based and UK artists, curated by creative ambassador Dame Zandra Rhodes.

Gratitude is set to be a beautiful and striking tribute which celebrates the incredible courage and dedication of the UK’s NHS staff and all key workers

The Colourful Statues As Part Of The Gratitude Exhibition Which Is In Manchesters St Peters Square As Part Of A National Tour
Gratitude, with a statue titled 'Courage' in the foreground

Mirroring the endless dedication of the NHS

Created by the team behind the award-winning Bee in the City art trail in 2018, which saw an immersive art trail take over the city punctuated by brightly designed bee statues, Gratitude aims to create an opportunity to reflect on the contribution made by NHS and key workers over the pandemic and bring together and connect people and communities with artists and businesses.

Central to the installation’s message will be its enclosure within two mirrored walls which create an atmosphere encouraging infinite reflection whilst highlighting the endless dedication and the limitless potential of the entire population to contribute to a shared cause.

Once its travels across the country are complete, the sculptures that form the installation will be auctioned off with “substantial proceeds” going to the NHS Charities Together fund which supports the NHS across hospitals, ambulance services, community and healthcare providers and essential partnerships.

More Statue Action From Gratitude Which Is In Manchesters St Peters Square In September
Serious Grayson Perry meets Anthony Gormley meets Subbuteo vibes

Key workers share stories and poems

As well as the Grayson Perry meets Anthony Gormley Subbuteo aesthetics, the installation will include immersive audio and visuals, with poems and real-life stories recorded by a host of notable names including Christopher Eccleston, Julie Hesmondhalgh, John Thomson, Ciaran Griffiths, Shobna Gulati as well as KT Tunstall, Adil Ray and Norman Cook.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to listen to the poems and stories through the Gratitude app and website.

One Of 51 Statues As Part Of The Gratitude Installation At St Peters Square Manchester
A statue called 'See A Different World' in the foreground

The artwork itself has been designed by a diverse group of artists from far and wide, with contributions from local designers and national treasures. Iconic Scottish fashion designer Pam Hogg, renowned sculpture artist Andrew Logan and British fashion and textile designer Kitty Joseph have all contributed designs for statues touching upon themes including ‘courage’, ‘stardust’ and ‘life force’.

Manchester Artists Sculptures As Part Of The Gratitude Exhibition Which Comes To St Peters Square Taken By David Oates Photography Crop
A selection of statues from Manchester artists including Hammo and Lei-Mai LaMaow David Oates

Manchester artists front and centre

Manchester artists featured in the installation include LeiMai LeMaow whose sculpture, Lockdown explores two tales of different lockdowns whilst illustrator and Alphabet Brewing Company design maestro Hammo's sculpture Faces of Lockdown depicts notable personalities from the last year in his trademark style.

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art said: 

"Gratitude is set to be a beautiful and striking tribute which celebrates the incredible courage and dedication of the UK’s NHS staff and all key workers and supports the vital work of NHS Charities Together. We are delighted to be taking our tour to Manchester’s St Peter’s Square, after months of hard work from artists across the UK, who have dedicated their time and creativity to help us produce an installation which reflects our endless Gratitude for the care and kindness that all key workers have provided.”

When asked about taking part in the installation, Coronation Street and Broadchurch actress, Julie Hesmondhalgh said: 

"What is not to love? A piece of public art that gives us the opportunity to thank the millions of key workers who have risked and sacrificed so much to keep society ticking along in these most challenging and heart-breaking of times - just wonderful! All the bin collectors and shop workers and delivery drivers; the NHS staff, from the cleaners to the consultants, our incredible teachers and our caregivers. An opportunity to remember, to reflect, to be thankful. I'm so happy to be a small part of this."

In order to ensure plenty of time for those visiting and the safest possible experience, the event will be ticketed with an allocation of free tickets available to book online.

Gratitude will be available to visit from 3-12 September at St Peter’s Square, Manchester. For more information and access to the associated audio media head to the Gratitude website.

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