The bands New Order and Joy Division are inextricably bound with Manchester, with their music an integral part of the northern city’s cultural heritage and identity since the 1970s. The exhibition True Faith at Manchester Art Gallery (until 3 September) looks at the impact of the two groups of contemporary artists such as Mark Leckey, Barbara Kruger, Glenn Brown, Jeremy Deller and Julian Schnabel. “True Faith is rooted in the social and cultural histories, and the psychological geography of Manchester itself,” writes the co-curator Matthew Higgs in the exhibition catalogue. The show includes Peter Saville’s cool, crisp album cover artwork for New Order and Joy Division (Factory Records label). The record sleeves draw on a vast range of influences: Movement (Factory Album, 1981) is inspired by the Italian Futurist artist Fortunato Depero’s poster for the 1932 exhibition Futurismo Trentino.
The German-Egyptian artist Susan Hefuna meditates on the themes of migration and separation, pondering also on what brings people together. These themes underpin an exhibition of her drawings, objects and a new digital work at the Whitworth Art Gallery (ToGather, until 3 September). Her Vitrines of Araf (2007) include found objects such as family photographs and flowers, donated by the wives and daughters of staff based at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo. The focal point is a performance (9 July) that unites the various migrant communities in the city. “Local residents, originally from 15 different countries including Iran, Sierra Leone, Trinidad, Pakistan, Albania and Kuwait, will trace individual paths through Whitworth Park,” the organizers say. Dancers from Studio Wayne McGregor will also take part in the event.
Samson Young, who has a doctorate in computer music and composition from Princeton University, is making his presence felt; the artist is representing Hong Kong at this year’s Venice Biennale and making waves in Manchester with a new five-part radio series. One of Two Stories, or Both (Field Bagatelles) will be broadcast live from Old Granada Studios (30 June-4 July), weaving songs, poetry and oral histories evoking mythic tales of 17th-century Chinese travelers bound for Europe. Young will unveil a sound and video installation at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (7-16 July) that explores the relationship between the UK and China since Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese authorities in 1997.