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Fri 14th Oct would have been Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’s 44th birthday. The Legacy project marked the occasion by launching a commemorative exhibition at Manchester Central Library.  In spite of restrictions that meant we couldn’t mark the walls in the Library’s Performance Space, so had to come up with inventive ways to mount and dismantle exhibition material in just one day, we got there! Displays for the event included window panels, banners, cases of archive material, text panels and a book. Around 120 guests attended the event, with speeches delivered by Councillor Lufther Rahman, Selina Ullah and Professor Lou Kushnick.

A smaller display continues in the Lower Ground floor community exhibition space until Jan 2017. To find out more about the Legacy project and The Ahmed Iqbal Education Trust click here.

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Yesterday I spent the second of two Saturdays running art workshops for families in Rochdale. The first weekend we made Victorian thaumatropes (basic animation comprised of 2 drawings on either side of a spinning disc) while battling the wind in an open-sided gazebo. The second weekend we made artists’ books in the warmth of Touchstones Museum, while the rain lashed down in torrents outside.

Intrepid families braved the weather to get involved and made some really fantastic work.Thaumatrope picture combinations included a fish and a net, a bee and a flower, a swimmer and the sea and a fish and a unicorn! Topics for books ranged from secret codes to life cycles, diaries and The Great War. Thanks to everyone who took part.

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For this year’s Manchester Day Parade on Sunday, Glenys Walsh and I produced a banner celebrating the first time that 1 million volts of electricity were generated. This feat of electrical engineering was achieved by Ferranti at his factory in Hollinwood in 1925. The theme was selected to celebrate Manchester’s role as ‘European City of Science 2016’.

CommunityShowcase2016-4We’ve had an interesting week, with lots of events taking place at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre as part of the Manchester Histories Festival. Look out for our stall at the Town Hall this Saturday…

‘Absence and Presence’ is a printmaking response to the bombing of the bookseller’s quarter, Al Mutanabbi Street, in Baghdad on the 5th March 2007. To view the work of many artists (including mine) watch this video of a recent exhibition launch and poetry reading at Exeter Library.

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I’ve just completed a triptych of 3 patchwork panels made of newsprint. The design is based on a traditional format known as ‘Arab Puzzle’. Each panel comprises 9 squares containing coverage and images from current news stories pertaining to the Middle East. It’s interesting to compare how much coverage differs and which words or phrases have been used repeatedly. You can also see how much variation there is in colour, font and layout from one publication to another.

The triptych was commissioned by ‘Absence and Presence: A Printmaking Project for Al-Muttanabi Street’. Find out more about the project by clicking here .

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I’ve been working with ladies from Community on Solid Ground in Whalley Range, in preparation for their heritage project ‘Traditional Best Times’. The project will capture the childhood memories of first generation South Asian women who settled in Manchester during the 1970s.

In an initial training session at Central Library, we explored the value and possible application of archive material as well as completing basic training in oral history. In a second session about creative reminiscence, I demonstrated how to use objects, photos, maps and documents to introduce themes and start a group conversation. We then explored a range of fun activities to record participant’s memories and share them with a wider audience.