Castlefield Gallery is supporting the delivery of the Manchester Hip Hop Archive exhibition at Manchester Library

Posted on 28 May 2021

This summer the city of Manchester will see the launch of the Manchester Hip Hop Archive (MHHA). The inaugural MHHA programme includes an exhibition at Manchester Central Library, produced by Castlefield Gallery in collaboration with the archive and Unity Radio.

The exhibition will celebrate the impact of the Hip Hop movement on the city of Manchester across four decades, and will be open from 1 July – 28 Sept 2021.

As part of the collaboration with the MHHA, Castlefield Gallery has invited artist Hardeep Pandhal to make a new work. Sardonic Harmony (2021) will be shared on the Castlefield Gallery website to coincide with the MHHA exhibition at Manchester Central Library. Sardonic Harmony (2021) is a collaborative lyric video featuring writing and sound by artists Hardeep Pandhal, Roy Claire Potter, Stefan Sadler and David Steans. The work embraces inexplicable forms of alterity, such as the cosmic macabre, through deep, empowering word-based play, sonic re-storying and limited animation. Sardonic Harmony (2021) is a rare and honest work that testifies to the artists’ faith in practices of mutative thinking and collaboration. Castlefield Gallery presented Pandhal’s first solo exhibition A Joyous Thing with Maggots at the Centre in 2014.


More on the MHHA inaugural programme

MHHA is dedicated to documenting and sharing a rich collection of artefacts and historical accounts that highlight events, groups and individuals from the Manchester community that helped contribute to the social and cultural phenomenon known as Hip Hop, and the impact of the genre on the region’s community.

The free MHHA exhibition will include Hip Hop memorabilia and materials from the 1980s to present day marking 40 years of Hip Hop lifestyle and culture in the city. This will also mark the start of a journey that will see the archive developing into a permanent collection for Manchester Central Library’s archives.

A unique collection, the MHHA will articulate Manchester’s position in the history of UK Hip Hop. Centred around the 5 elements of Hip Hop culture, the archive and exhibition will house clothing, photographs, cassettes, records, graffiti sketchbooks, posters, flyers and oral histories that document the growth and development of this significant movement. The exhibition will also dig deep into sub genres and time-line the scene as it has evolved.

The MHHA exhibition is timed to coincide with Manchester International Festival (MIF), Unity Radio and the MHHA’s collaboration Rooted in Rhyme, (10 July), which will include sets by DJ Semtex, one of Hip Hop’s most influential global ambassadors, alongside a packed line-up of some of Manchester’s freshest musical talent. Rooted in Rhyme will be a journey that goes deep into Manchester’s Hip Hop underground, with appearances from the city’s most dynamic emerging acts including SVMI, Lady Ice, Culps, Rago Loco and Victoria Jane, plus special guests. There will also be DJ sets from DJ G-A-Z – Best DJ at the Urban Music Awards 2020 – and Unity Radio’s DJ Basha.


Image: Hardeep Pandhal, Spectral Scripts Reluctantly Festoon Tantric Dungeon, (2020). Image credit: Patrick Jameson.