The Twelve Saints of Manchester are a group of twelve remarkable beings who have, in their own way over time, made extraordinary contributions to the quality of life in Manchester. These beings are represented by their portraits, a series of twelve paintings compiled by Manchester based artist Mark Weighton. The twelve portraits depict each of the saints in the physical domain where they most fully express their wise and generous powers.  For example, Dolly, the Matron Saint of Fashion places herself at night on empty streets underneath the towering Arndale Centre, quietly hoping that tomorrow's shoppers might find the bargains they so ardently seek. Tony, Patron Saint of Harmony stands peacefully in the centre of the Hacienda nightclub dance floor hoping everyone has a great night out.  

 

The Twelve Saints of Manchester are however, occasionally vulnerable in their generosity. It is possible that at times their willingness to give leaves them open to abuse by those beings that actively seek to exploit such generosity of spirit. Such dubiously motivated folk would like nothing better than to keep taking from the Saints in order to deplete their power and goodwill. As that power is depleted it is possible for other less wise and more manipulative energy to take its place and express itself in this city.  Therefore, although the Twelve Saints of Manchester may be seen as the defenders and guardians of the city, they themselves need a protector. They have Clare, an exceptionally powerful warrior fuelled by compassion and love but ultimately not afraid of a fight. She is so strong that she only has to remind those that seek to exploit her friends of her presence and they sensibly tend to back off. Fighting Clare would be a largely futile experience. She is an ultimate deterrent; a defender of light and love; a guardian angel.

The Twelve Saints of Manchester, like all saints, have the ability to love unconditionally. This makes them a rare and special breed. Each distinguished being looks out of its portrait with a desire to engage a viewing audience as they quite often find it difficult to communicate in regular ways with the people of Manchester. In fact, most of the time, the Saints are so innocuous that they are impossible for the rest of us to see. These paintings can therefore provide the opportunity for the viewer to experience some of their wonderfully magical and healing powers. As they watch over Manchester and its denizens, so should Manchester seek to recognise and honour those in our midst that so unerringly determine to bring joy to life in our city. Without their efforts and acts of consistent kindness, however fleeting, perhaps this city wouldn't feel like such a magnificent place in which to live.

CONTEMPORARY ART

MARK WEIGHTON