What Are You Like? Self-revealing artworks by people in the public eye

Wednesday 17th June 2009

4 July – 31 August 2009 Manchester Art Gallery Free entry

What’s your favourite animal, book, food or weather? These are just some of the questions that are answered by an eclectic group of well-known personalities from the worlds of fashion, illustration, journalism (and more) in a series of delightfully quirky, intriguing and often humorous pictures on display at Manchester Art Gallery this summer.

The original idea for the exhibition, called What Are You Like? and curated by the House of Illustration, was taken from a Victorian game in which you draw pictures of your favourite things to create a cryptic self-portrait. For this exhibition, 45 people in the public eye were asked to illustrate eight favourite things from a list of twelve, in order to create a self-portrait.

Contributors were asked about their favourite animal, book, clothes, comfort, food, pastime, place, possession, music, shoes, weather and their pet aversion. The contributors to the exhibition were all selected for having the skills to express themselves visually, and were encouraged to use whatever medium they most enjoy. Among the famous people whose work appears in the exhibition are: Andrew Marr, Anna Ford, Brian Eno, Eric Clapton, Eric Carle, Jack Penate, Jan Pienkowski, Sir Paul Smith and Shirley Hughes.

The resulting works are diverse in style: from Quentin Blake’s instantly recognisable pen and ink drawings of people and Shirley Hughes’ enchanting watercolours to Lauren Child’s unique combination of text, drawing and collage and a series of polaroid photographs by portrait and fashion photographer Mary McCartney.

For families looking for entertainment this summer, a drawing station is provided in the exhibition too, where people of all ages create their own self-portrait pictures of their favourite things. For those who can’t decide which question to answer first, there’s even a giant dice to roll with different “favourite things” categories on each face. And with a special Visitors’ Gallery in the exhibition, visitors can add their own drawings to the display alongside the official works.

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure said:
“Many families will be looking for affordable ways to entertain the kids this summer, and being free entry, Manchester Art Gallery is a great, family-friendly day out. The gallery has a packed programme of family activities planned for the summer, and by combining a visit to this exhibition with some of the daily activities, you should find there’s plenty to keep the kids happy for several hours.”

What Are You Like? is at Manchester Art Gallery from 4 July – 31 August 2009. Entry is free. For more information visit www.manchestergalleries.org or call 0161 235 8888.


For further information and images, please contact Jenny Davies, Communications Manager, Manchester Art Gallery.
Tel: 0161 235 8864 or
email: j.davies1@manchester.gov.uk

Issued 1 June 2009.

Notes to Editors
Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
Tel: 0161 235 8888
Textphone: 0161 235 8893

Open Tuesday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays, 10am – 5pm
Closed Monday (except Bank Holidays)
Free entry.

The House of Illustration will be the first gallery in the UK dedicated to celebrating the art of illustration. It will showcase illustration both past and present from all over the world and be a hub for illustrators and enthusiasts of all ages. The gallery hopes to have a permanent home in the Kings Cross regeneration area of London by 2012. To find out more go to www.houseofillustration.org.uk