A mural of one of Macclesfield’s finest musicians now has pride of place in the town centre.
The mural of Ian Curtis, the iconic frontman of Joy Division, is a fully funded Cheshire East Council project and has been painted by well-known street artist ‘Akse’. It adorns a building on Mill Street, just across from the bus station.
Ian Curtis was the iconic frontman of Joy Division whose biggest hit, which still commands airtime more than 40 years after its release, was ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Ian was brought up in Macclesfield, attended King’s School in the town and his ashes are buried in Macclesfield Cemetery. He took his own life in 1980.
Councillor Nick Mannion, chair of Cheshire East Council’s economy and growth committee, said: “Before today, I spoke about how perhaps this beautiful mural has been somewhat overdue but now that I’m here seeing it for myself for the first time, I can say without any doubt that it has truly been worth the wait.
“As I’ve said previously, I am a huge fan of Joy Division – the cultural significance of the band and Ian stretches well beyond my home town of Macclesfield. This is such a proud moment, I’m feeling very emotional about it right now.”
Manchester street artist ‘Akse’, has been spray-painting similar projects over a varied 30–year career. His recent works include murals of the late British army officer and fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford MBE.
On completion of his latest project, Akse said: “Although I’ve been working on murals most of my life, it’s still always an incredible feeling to get to the end of the journey – well the end of my journey at least. Now it’s time for the people of Macclesfield to enjoy the mural, as I know how much Ian meant to so many of them.”
The commissioning of the mural follows on from Cheshire East Council’s approval of the Macclesfield town centre strategic regeneration framework, which the council is continuing to deliver against.
The framework sets out the council’s vision for the town centre as a place which celebrates its quirkiness and provides the development sector with the confidence and certainty needed to bring forward investment, jobs and economic growth.
Janet Jackson MBE of the Macclesfield Cultural Forum, said: “This is a wonderful day for anyone with a connection to Macclesfield and particularly those, who may have grown up with or simply felt a connection to Ian and Joy Division. This mural speaks even more loudly than that though. It can, and will be, a tremendous source of inspiration for many years to come.”
Simon Bushell, arts project manager and member of the Cultural Forum, added: “Bringing someone of the calibre of Akse in to deliver this fantastic project is a real coup, his work is outstanding. But today is about remembering someone, who for many, was a real trailblazer – the legendary Ian Curtis.”