Ian Curtis mural Manchester: rapper Aitch’s ad being removed from Northern Quarter artwork after outcry

The rapper expressed his unhappiness on social media that the image of the Joy Division frontman had been covered up.

An advert for the new album by Manchester rapper Aitch appeared in the city and was then rapidly removed after it covered up a mural of iconic musician Ian Curtis.

Anger spread on social media this week after images emerged of the artwork celebrating the late Joy Division frontman in the Northern Quarter being painted over.

An advertisement urging music fans to check out the new work by the Moston-born artist on Amazon Music was then visible at the location on Port Street.

Aitch quickly took to social media to express his unhappiness at where the advert had been put and it was being removed on Wednesday morning (17 August).

The Aitch advert being removed from the Ian Curtis mural in the Northern Quarter. Photo: Coun Pat Karney

What happened when the mural was painted over?

Disgruntled Mancunians took to Twitter to express their anger and dissatisfaction when the image of Ian Curtis, which was unveiled in 2020 and created by Manchester street artist Akse, disappeared from view.

It was originally created to coincide with Headstock Festival, which supported music and mental wellbeing in partnership with Help Musicians and Manchester Mind.

Aitch himself quickly took to Twitter when it became clear the mural had been painted over and said he would ensure it was fixed quickly.

Rapper Aitch at Manchester Piccadilly Subway Photo: Taylor Herring

He wrote: “It’s come to light that the iconic Ian Curtis mural on Port Street has been painted over with my album artwork. This is the first time I’ve heard of this, me and my team are getting this fixed pronto. No way on earth would I want to disrespect a local hero like Ian.”

He then posted the letters “MCR” together with heart and bee symbols.

What is happening now with the mural and what has the reaction been?

Manchester City Council politician Coun Pat Karney shared with ManchesterWorld pictures of the advert being removed from the site on Wednesday morning.

Workers removing the advert for Aitch’s album on Port Street. Photo: Coun Pat Karney

He expressed the hope that the face of the Madchester icon and singer would soon be visible to people walking that way once more.

Coun Karney said: “ The mural had a real impact in the city so it’s a shame it was taken down. Aitch is a great Manchester artist and I knew he would not have known about this. Let’s see if the mural will be reinstated.”

Pictures posted on social media on Wednesday showed a blank black wall at the Port Street site with no sign of the advertisement.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham also tweeted that he was pleased the advert had been removed and that Aitch had responded so quickly and firmly on the subject.

He said: “Respect to @OfficialAitch for this. It should never have happened and he shouldn’t have been put in this position. Ian is a true icon of our city.

“He must be fully restored and left in his place for time in memoriam. Thanks to everyone for showing what Ian means to us.”

Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook wrote on Twitter that it was “very sad to see” that the beautiful image of Ian Curtis was currently not visible, describing it as “such a wonderful mural”.

Aitch’s debut full-length album Close To Home, meanwhile, is being released on 19 August via Capitol. The musician, who is a massive Manchester United fan, has previously described the work as a love letter to his city.

Since making his breakthrough with Straight Rhymez, which brought him to the attention of British rap superstar Stormzy, Aitch has released a slew of singles and EPs and has had three songs make the UK top 40 chart, with Taste (Make It Shake) peaking at number two.