Mark Kennedy mosaics unveiled at Afflecks – as the Manchester shopping emporium celebrates 30th birthday

By Kevin Benson

A series of seven mosaic art pieces were unveiled at Afflecks on Friday morning, as part of the shopping emporium’s 30th birthday celebrations.

The mosaics were created by Mark Kennedy, with designs representing cultural icons from Manchester’s musical past including Factory Records, The Stone Roses and Peter Saville’s artwork from Joy Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures.

Tony Martin, general manager of Afflecks said: “It is something that we felt was really missing from the building and we got a lot of customers coming in asking where they were so we felt it was important to contact Mark Kennedy and re-commission him to do some new work for us.

“We thought it would be great to tie it in to the fact that we have been trading for 30 years.”

The new mosaics have been welcomed by shoppers and Northern Quarter residents alike, with some claiming they add ‘a new sense of colour to the building’, complimenting the tree structure.

Mr Kennedy’s mosaics had previously adorned the Tib Street face of Afflecks but in 2008 they were taken down by previous owner, and creator of Afflecks, Elaine Walsh.

The new mosaics feature some of Manchester’s most well known faces and icons.

The Factory Records design depicts the five partners in the Manchester based independent record label, along with Peter Saville’s famous graphics.

Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus started Factory as a club in 1978. Martin Hannett (producer of Joy Division) and Peter Saville joined Wilson and Erasmus to form Factory Records later that year. Rob Gretton, Joy Division’s manager, became a fifth partner in 1979.

Coronation Street is also celebrated in a mosaic. The popular soap has been running since 1960. Famous characters depicted in the design include Ena Sharples, Hayley Cropper, Jack and Vera Duckworth and Bette Lynch.

Affleck’s is not the only place in the Northern Quarter where Mr Kennedy’s artworks can be seen.

Northern Flower, on Tib Street, recently installed a Mark Kennedy mosaic as its new shop logo.

Owner, Lucy Thorniley contacted Mark because the shop didn’t have a sign.

Heidi Ryan, a florist at Northern Flower said: “We wanted Mark to do it because we thought it would be really pretty and it would fit in with the area.

“The design is actually our logo, and Lucy asked him if he could do this and he said yeah sure – two days later he came back in and it looked amazing,” she added.

As part of Afflecks’ birthday celebrations, a street party was held along Tib Street featuring bands, entertainers, hot food and drinks and a fashion show organised by the emporiums stall owners.

The street was closed off as 200 revellers celebrated in style, with The Invader Band performing classic Manchester tunes to delighted onlookers, who in typical Manchester fashion kept shouting for more.

The party was a massive success according to Mr Martin.

He said: “I would like to thank everybody that came to the event and showed their support adding to a great day in the sunshine.”

Afflecks began trading in 1982, the same year as the legendary Hacienda nightclub.

Since opening its doors it has provided a space for independent traders and start-ups to thrive in a creative environment.

In 2008, the building was acquired by new owners, Bruntwood, after the original 25 year lease, held by previous owners Elaine and James Walsh, ran out in 2007.

The building has since undergone a series of restorations, with £750,000 being invested to improve the shopping experience

For further information visit the Afflecks web site here.

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