Holding Up

by Mura Ma | Manchester
Date of event: 08/03/24 - 23/03/24

Titled, ‘Holding Up’ the exhibition draws together artists devoted to process, place and form and have each developed their own visual language in their art-making, be it painting or sculpture.

Opening on International Women’s Day 2024, the theme of this exhibition has been inspired by the book of illustrations and writing by American artist Maira Kalman, called ‘Women Holding Things’.

“The exhibition’s premise is to celebrate the idea of women holding space for art making.  All be it a something else to hold, it is for many artists, a place in which to escape, take refuge and for creativity to flourish.  Finding that time and place to create in the clamour of everyday life of things to hold and to carry,”  Nan Collantine, Mura Ma.


The late Fiona Moate’s paintings explore an interplay between historic 19th and 20th century architecture and natural and formal landscape.  The looseness of her paintings, often using the beautiful, powdery softness of gouache on paper,  belie a sophisticated painterly understanding.   Her sketchbook drawings, often made whilst travelling on buses from her Stockport home and on walks around her local park during the pandemic, record acutely observed and unaffected glimpses of urban spaces. These provide fertile ground for paintings patchworking histories of place, and borrowed texts from the ‘The Kings England’ series by Arthur Mee, to reinforce her own discovered meaning.






Naqsh Raj is a painter who recently returned to Pakistan after living in the UK for two years.  Her rhythmic compositions on large scale canvases are the result of a painstaking process of building and restoring order to her work.  Raj believes in the strong connection between visual aesthetics and ethics, both in a continuous process of reform.  Her ongoing work is a union of mechanical and manual methods of painting; the mundanity of making repetitive marks with human hands is the symbolism in her imagery. Taking possession of an empty space through relentless exertion has been her prime interest and embracing imperfection is a natural part of her current art practice.

Sculptor Vic Wright creates precariously assembled forms from sustainable casting cement, softening the hard materials with pastel pigments and curved forms, and harnessing the material’s weight to create an imbalance in space.

Wright’s exploratory approach leads to a contradiction between the language of the materials and the natural forms.  For example by growing crystals onto the sculpture and playing with what we think we already know about materials.

All artwork will be available to buy and a PDF catalogue will be available to accompany the exhibition.

About the artists


Fiona Moate (1959-2024) studied fine art at the

Hull College of Higher Education in 1982 and completed her MA at Manchester Polytechnic in 1983.  She worked out of artist studios including MASA and Sigma and later at her home in Stockport.


Moate taught on a number of art foundation courses in the North West and was visiting artist at MMU, Salford University, Manchester University Architecture School, Staffordshire University & Hull College of Art. She an art & design lecturer at the Manchester Adult Education Service

until her retirement in 2015.


Moate exhibited widely in the North West and London throughout the 1980s and ‘90s.  She was represented by the Ainscough Gallery in Merseyside and had a number of of solo exhibitions with the gallery. The last exhibition of her work in 2018 was ‘Landmarks’ with with peers including Sarah Feinmann, Steven Heaton, the late Kate Davies, Paulette Bansal, David Armes.

Moate’s paintings can be found in private and public collections in the UK, USA, Ireland, Germany, including Rutherford Collection, Oldham Art Gallery, Manchester University and Lancashire County Council.