Huge stunning new artwork unveiled at Printworks with nods to Man Utd, Man City, Hacienda and LGBTQ+ community

Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, revealed the winning artwork to the public.
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A huge new piece of public art has been unveiled at Printworks. The whopping 210 metres square piece is the first part of the entertainment destination’s ongoing refurbishment.

The striking, intricate design is bold, bright and celebrates Manchester past and present with the suffragette movement, LGBTQ+ community, as well as iconic sport and music elements all taking a starring role. The design is the work of Alex Sylt, a 32-year-old screen printer based in Hope Mill. His concept was voted for by the people of Manchester and a panel of judges in 2023 and was revealed to the public by Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, last year.  

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It features well-known landmarks including Manchester City and Manchester United football clubs, the town hall, Gotham Hotel, Ancoats Marina, John Ryland Library and of course Printworks itself. Alex has been screen printing for more than 10 years and this method of creating art has influenced his design for Printworks. 

Alex Sylt, artist, pictured with his work at the Printworks.. Picture Jason Lock PhotographyAlex Sylt, artist, pictured with his work at the Printworks.. Picture Jason Lock Photography
Alex Sylt, artist, pictured with his work at the Printworks.. Picture Jason Lock Photography

He said: “This piece has taken almost a year to create from start to finish, no surprise considering the scale. Of course, I always knew it would be huge but when you see it for the first time it’s such a joy. I hope that people will enjoy trying to spot the different references and will see something different each time.”

What does each bit of the new Printworks artwork mean? 

The image blooms from three diagonal lines at the base of the piece as the lines are an important motif in the crest of Manchester. The central column of flowers acts as a statue held up by the hands of the people of Manchester, representing the diversity of the city. The  story of the city is told through the languages of flowers and colours. This includes sunflowers for Alan Turing’s early research, purple coloured flowers represent the Suffragette movement and the LGBTQ+ community are also represented.

The floral imagery is set against strong lines of printing presses, as a nod to the history of Printworks, and the many buildings of the city. The work of Malcolm Garrett MBE and the iconic album covers he created for Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Peter Gabriel and Buzzcocks magazine have been referenced as have the diagonal lines that are synonymous with the Hacienda. Other nods to well known Manchester music icons and album covers can also be spotted within the piece.

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