Mural of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis returns to Manchester

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – The northern English city of Manchester welcomed back a mural of its late music icon Ian Curtis on Friday, newly restored after it had been painted over last year to outcry from local residents.

The black-and-white portrait of Curtis, who took his own life in 1980, covers all three storeys of the Star and Garter pub and was completed this week by local artist Akse P19, following permission granted by local authorities on Monday.

The original mural, made by Akse P19 in 2020 for World Mental Health Day, was replaced last year by an advert for Manchester rapper Aitch – provoking widespread criticism from music fans, including the city’s mayor Andy Burnham.

Aitch said he had no control over the location of the Amazon Music billboards and was “fuming” at the decision to paper over the mural. Amazon Music apologised.

The restoration of the mural precedes World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday.

Manchester’s Joy Division produced two studio albums before Curtis’ death but they cast a long shadow over British pop music.

Countless acts went on to imitate the band’s sparse, reverb-laden productions that sounded alien to the norms of the late 1970s, marked by poetic and sometimes bleak lyrics delivered by Curtis in a trademark baritone.

(Reporting by Phil Noble, writing by Andy Bruce)