In pictures: How the Lowry are telling Salford's story

Published 1 July 2021

During the pandemic, the Lowry gallery in Salford invited local residents to share their hopes, fears and experiences. The resulting exhibition, Days Like These, paints a picture of the city and its people during 2020.

In summer 2020, the Lowry in Salford gave the city’s residents the opportunity to share their experiences of the pandemic, by making an open call-out for stories, artwork, films, performances, poems and photographs.

The idea drew inspiration from the gallery’s namesake, the artist LS Lowry, whose work celebrated ‘ordinary people living ordinary lives’, explains the gallery’s director of visual arts, Michael Simpson.

In the resulting exhibition, Days Like These – which first unfolded online and is now installed in the gallery – work contributed by the community appears alongside paintings by Lowry himself.

The exhibition is open on weekends until 29 August. We went along to the opening to capture it coming to life – take a look below...

Art Fund was able to support Days Like These thanks to the generosity of our members and donors. Thank you for making a difference.

The gallery's director of visual arts, Michael Simpson, gives a tour of the exhibition.

From paintings to photos, poetry to video, the exhibition captures the creativity of people's responses to the call-out, and their experiences of lockdown.

While some works convey the fear and uncertainty of the past year, others capture moments of tenderness and togetherness. Contributors shared images of distanced gatherings, chats on doorsteps, and neighbours helping each other.

Over the past few months, members of the local community have been meeting online to help shape the exhibition and make it welcoming for everyone. On the morning of the exhibition opening, members of the steering group met for a workshop to design new ideas for the gallery space.

In the exhibition, residents' contributions appear alongside works by LS Lowry himself, making the connection between Lowry's own depictions of communities – at work, at home, together and alone – and our lives in 2020.

Outside the venue, a billboard features a work by local resident and stained-glass artist Barbara Thomas – a photograph of a mosaic rainbow in the window of her home, titled Showing My Appreciation. Here's Barbara talking about her contribution to the exhibition in a short video.


Days Like These is at the Lowry, Salford, until 29 August 2021, open on Saturdays and Sundays. Book your free ticket at thelowry.com/whats-on/days-like-these/

Days Like These is supported by a Respond and Reimagine grant from Art Fund, made possible by Art Fund's members and donors. Find out more about how you can help museums on the road to recovery.

All photos © David Oates / Art Fund 2021

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