Two artists are leaving 240 gifts to the city hidden across Manchester over the last two weeks of July 2022, with the aim of reminding us to embrace our stories of loss and self-worth.
Tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the city centre, ceramicist Rachel Ho and artist and designer Micah Purnell have left 120 Kintsugi pots and 120 ‘You Are Enough’ oak engravings, which people can keep as gifts once they are found.
Ho is a ceramicist who has exhibited nationally. Her work is inspired by Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese method of mending broken pottery with gold, resulting in more beautiful and precious pots. Purnell is an award-winning freelance graphic designer, artist, curator and author in Manchester. His well-known phrase ‘You are Enough’ has appeared across the city over the past few years as giant banners and billboards.
Ho says: “The porcelain pots are deliberately scarred to symbolise the fragility of our lives. These scars are then filled with gold lustre, expressing the mystery of new beginnings and new life even in our deepest pain. This work was originally inspired by a dear friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I wanted her to know that her scars were beautiful because they told her story which was one of courage, hope and healing. The golden scars represent all our stories of loss and reflect the beauty of hope, healing and belonging.”
Speaking about his oak engravings, Purnell says: “They are a declaration of self-worth as a counter to advertising, which fills our city. Consumerism wraps things up in neat little packages and sells them as idealised gifts of perfection. Advertising props up this notion with the assumption that we are inadequate – stealing your love of yourself, and selling it back at a price. These little gifts will go some way to bring healing and create a new narrative for people to take hold of.”
Each of the hidden gifts will be accompanied by an invite to share anonymously how the artworks resonated with those who find them at www.gifttothecity.org. You’ll be able to read stories of difficulty and hope as the artworks are found.
The project aims to help people feel seen and less alone, to recognise we all have our daily battles and to create a sense of togetherness and healing.