Surprise poetry

I came across this poem while walking in Manchester yesterday. I have walked by here and not noticed it before, but this time I stopped to take a phone call, looked up, and found myself trying to make out the words while paying attention to the person on the line. Such a fitting poem for this city, and also just the sort of surprise art I equate with my visits here.

Seeing in new ways

At the Manchester Art Gallery this summer I encountered an exhibition called And Breathe…. Part of the gallery’s Mindful Museum campaign, this exhibition invites you to sit and listen to guided meditations as you look at the paintings.

One of the meditations led me to look around a painting clockwise, taking in the colors, textures, and other characteristics without judgment. Another encouraged me to slow down and notice small details. By the end of the visit, I was looking at the paintings in new ways — enjoying the experience of seeing without worrying about what I was meant to see.

Appreciating new art

While visiting the Manchester Art Gallery, I discovered the artist Jai Redman. His watercolor series portrays still life using representative water sources — Beauty of Bath uses juice from the apple itself. In these paintings, once the water is used up the painting is done!

In this case, Gavin Turk’s Ergo Sum (the bronze apple core under the painting) provides an intriguing juxtaposition.

There are many paintings by Redman on exhibition (in this series and others), and entry to the gallery is free, so if you’re in Manchester I recommend stopping by for a visit!

Being in on the joke

I noticed this sign while going for a massage in Manchester:

Manchester is in northern England, commonly referred to as “the North.” As a Game of Thrones fan, I quite enjoyed this reference. (And after that massage I do think the title fits here!)


While visiting Manchester, I decided to wander into the Manchester Museum. It definitely caters to children, although it has plenty to interest adults as well. I got a bit overwhelmed by the noise in the main exhibition halls and wandered into a somewhat quieter area with a special collection called Object Lessons.

I was quite taken by all the models, including these flowers, mushrooms, and even jellyfish.