New Greater Manchester Art Trail Goes Live Supporting Mental Health Awareness

Six Places in a Different Light, a free public art trail promoting mental health awareness and wellbeing, has launched in Greater Manchester. The trail features six striking hand-painted large-scale head sculptures and runs from 3 November to 11 December 2023.

The project is inspired by the works of multidisciplinary art collective We Are Willow in partnership with global art producer Wild in Art and aims to engage new audiences through creativity,  encouraging open conversation around mental health and putting ‘a different light’ on it.

The six striking large scale head sculptures showcase unique designs by internationally-acclaimed illustrator Tom J Newell, Manchester-based illustrator and community artist Kelly Ma and painter Ekun Richard and can be spotted at Mayfield Park, Greengate Square, the University of Salford’s Peel Park campus, in front of the Imperial War Museum North and MediaCityUK.

Each of the 2-metre pieces is inspired by a series of creative workshops organised by local mental health charities. Members of Manchester Mind, START and The Jamie Horrocks Trust joined the three artists in discussion and reflection as a response to We Are Willow’s 12-track album exploring topics of mental health. The participants decorated a number of miniature head sculptures based on the feelings evoked during the process, which inspired the creatives in hand-painting six sculptures reflecting the miniature designs and their own workshop experience.

Each of the sculptures features a QR code, directing visitors to a trail map, comprehensive information on the designs, the dedicated charities and participants and We Are Willow’s 12-track album.

A Different Light’ is a project that has been creatively evolving since its inception in 2016. The work originally featured four films, an album of music and spoken word and an edition of 300 bespoke mini head sculptures.

According to research conducted by mental health charity Mind, over a third of UK adults aged 16+ never make space in their day to speak about mental health.

The project works with local charities Manchester Mind, START, and The Jamie Horrocks Trust, alongside additional participants from BlueSci in Trafford and Stockport and District Mind.

It is also funded and supported by the NHS Greater Manchester, Salford City Council, The University of Salford, LandsecU+I and Arts Council England.

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