Ian Curtis mural to return to Manchester after being covered by Aitch album advert

15 August 2023, 16:22

Manchester rapper Aitch and the mural of late Joy Division icon Ian Curtis
Manchester rapper Aitch and the mural of late Joy Division icon Ian Curtis. Picture: 1. Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns/Getty 2. Tony Smith / Alamy Stock Photo

By Jenny Mensah

The tribute was covered on 75 Port Street to make way for Aitch's album advertisement last year.

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A mural for the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis is set to return to the streets of Manchester one year after it was covered up.

The tribute, which was created by local artist Aske in 2020 and was located on the side of a house on Port Street in the Northern Quarter, went viral in August last year after it was painted over to accommodate an advertisement Aitch's debut album Close To Home.

The move prompted widespread criticism at the time from various corners of the internet, including the muralist himself who explained the artwork was originally created in collaboration with music & mental Wellbeing festival Headstock to honour the artist who lost his life to suicide in 1980 and spread awareness for World Mental Health Day.

READ MORE: Why the sleeve to Closer by Joy Division was controversial

Aitch himself was equally shocked by the erasure of the iconic tribute, taking to Twitter to assure people he was unaware of the decision and the situation would be rectified.

"It’s come to light that the iconic Ian Curtis mural on Port Street has been painted over with my album artwork," wrote the Manchester MC. "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."

The rapper later described himself as the "most hated person in Manchester for about 40 minutes," adding: "I don’t pick and choose where I put my billboards or album promo. I just wake up and drive past it, or see it on the internet, just like everyone else."

Now, according to the Manchester Evening News, there are plans for a near-identical mural to be be painted in a new home after it was revealed the original location could no longer be used.

The outlet adds that Headstock is applying for a the new mural, explaining the purpose behind the original artwork and why they wish for it to be reinstated.

A statement in the application read: "The mural of Ian Curtis had been painted on the wall of 75 Port Street in October 2020 and was opened to celebrate World Mental Health day and support Manchester Mind, Help Musicians and promote the 24/7 wellbeing text service Shout".

It also referenced the "public outcry within the Manchester community and the wider music community" and proposed that near-identical mural would be recreated by Aske and offered up the Star and Garter on Fairfield Street as a potential new location.

Shortly after the news of the mural's erasure broke last year, Amazon Music released a statement apologising for the mistake, writing: "As part of our efforts to promote Aitch's new album, we asked our ad agency to create a mural in his hometown of Manchester. Unbeknownst to us or to Aitch, the wall the agency chose for the new artwork already head a mural on it - one honouring the late great Ian Cutis."

They continued: "As soon as we learned of this, we ordered the production to stop, and are working with Aitch to restore or replace the original Ian Curtis mural as soon as possible. Our apologies to all who are justifiably upset."

READ MORE: Aitch samples The Stone Roses on new track


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