The winner of a global competition to create one of Manchester’s biggest murals and transform the Trafford House building in Greater Manchester with a landmark 38 metre high artwork - has been announced following a competitive judging process.
The competition, run by leading regional property company Bruntwood, attracted entries from over 50 artists from as far away as Brazil. But Manchester-based artist Venessa Scott, in partnership with community organisation Gorgeous Gorse Hill, won the vote of a panel packed with Northern cultural heavyweights.
The entries were exhibited at the Manchester School of Art to a sterling judging panel which included the BBC’s Director of the North and Children, Alice Webb; the Dean of Manchester School of Art, Penny Macbeth; creator of City of Hope festival, Ben Barsky; Chair of the Pankhurst Trust, Louise Sutherland, and Bruntwood’s Director of Culture Kate Vokes.
Celebrating art and creating spaces which inspire and enliven communities is an important aspect of Bruntwood’s vision, and the mural will be a key addition to Manchester’s growing collection of iconic murals and street art pieces – which bring colour and spirit to everyday spaces.
The artwork will mark the centenary of the female vote – taking direct inspiration from legendary suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, who was born just metres from Trafford House. Bruntwood is hoping to unveil the mural by the end of the year to mark the milestone.
Venessa will work with the Bruntwood team to deliver the mural over the next few months. Her bright and beautiful piece will be situated on the East-facing end of Trafford House, on the major arterial route of Chester Road and Manchester City Centre - brightening the commute of thousands of people. Trafford House also overlooks the pedestrian route between Old Trafford tram stop and Manchester United’s Old Trafford football ground.
Having formally trained as a visual artist and graphic designer, Venessa has always had a passion for public art and placemaking. Her designs are typically bold, joyful, accessible and steeped in concept. Her winning mural design is inspired by the Pankhurst legacy, the suffragette colours and the empowered women in the Gorse Hill community.
Venessa said: “I’m over the moon to have won the competition. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to work on such a huge scale in partnership with an organisation like Bruntwood and the opportunity to install one of my designs onto Trafford House is an exciting privilege, a real honour, and a high point in my career; literally and metaphorically!
“My imagination was really captured by the brief and when approaching this brief, I wanted to create something that made people smile and feel positive, and then on closer observation, told a deeper story of Sylvia Pankhurst and the local Gorse Hill community. Since 2014, I’ve installed several public artworks across the Gorse Hill Area, and I’ve come to realise that it is a hidden gem, with an enthralling history.
“Gorgeous Gorse Hill is a local community group which works in the Trafford area and it’s wonderful to be working on this project in partnership with them. Gorgeous Gorse Hill was set up by a group of women residents and my mural design draws on the area’s Pankhurst legacy, the suffragette colours, and the empowered women in the Gorse Hill community. These women proposed radical ideas to improve the local community and achieve change; this change has helped to transform the Gorse Hill community and it’s an honour to be recognising their work with this piece. I can’t wait to begin and I’m so excited to unveil the final mural!”
Alice Webb, BBC’s Director of the North and Children, said: “It was a real pleasure to be part of this important art project, which is on the doorstep of BBC North and will brighten the commute of thousands and bring a fresh injection of colour and character to the area.
“Submissions were of a very high standard, judging was tough – but when it came down to it Venessa’s vision, connection to the local area, and concept shone through and was the unanimous choice of the judging panel. I can’t wait to see the finished work!”
Kate Vokes, Bruntwood’s director of culture, said: “Venessa is an incredibly deserving winner – the judges felt that her concept really addressed the brief – it will be a beautiful, bold, and bright piece of work that tells a compelling story and represents many viewpoints and perspectives.
“It is a piece that speaks to collaboration, which we hope will inspire others and draw people together. I think it’s a multi-layered piece that will really capture the imagination and people will keep seeing new things in it over time. It definitely felt right for the space and is a wonderful fit with Bruntwood’s focus on creating community, growing strong connections with the people around us and collaborating to create projects and spaces that are more than the sum of their parts.”