Ian Curtis Mural to Return to Manchester After Being Painted Over for Ad

The work had been obscured by an advertisement last year

Photo: Manchester City Council

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Aug 14, 2023

An iconic mural of late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis will be repainted in Manchester a year after it was controversially painted over to advertise a new album by UK rapper Aitch.

Per the Manchester Evening News, city council has published a series of planning documents that propose a new home for the mural of Curtis, painted by local artist Akse (based on a photo by Philippe Carly) in collaboration with mental health music festival Headstock.

The mural of Curtis remained on the side of a house from October 2020 until August 2022, when it was obscured by a hand-painted ad for Aitch's debut album Close to Home, released that month.

Upon backlash reaching the artist, Aitch affirmed that he and his team would right the situation, sharing, "No way on earth would I want to disrespect a local hero like Ian."

A mockup of the relocated mural, seen above, would have it moved to the side wall of Manchester's Star and Garter pub, near Piccadilly Station. Further consultation on the application is set to happen August 31.

Planning application documents reference "public outcry within the Manchester community and the wider music community" following the painting over of Akse's original, addressing its social importance through noting: "The mural depicts the singer Ian Curtis of the post-punk band Joy Division, who died by suicide in 1980, shortly before the release of their second album, Closer and on the eve of the band's first North American tour."

In February, Joy Division were nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction for the first time, as a package with successor group New Order. That month, Akse finished up another mural of Curtis in Manchester, which can be found at Joy Division-inspired bar Disorder.

A post shared by Akse (P19 Crew) (@akse_p19)


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