MANCHESTER DIARY
Wife’s tribute to talented artist

COMMISSIONED: Simon Black in front of one of his paintings on display at London’s Royal Free Hospital

AN exhibition is being held in March to remember Mancunian artist Simon Black, who died 10 years ago.

And memory:intuition, organised by his wife Raina, will open at the Camden Image Gallery, north London, on March 17 — which would have been his 60th birthday.

A crowdfunding page has been set up to raise funds to contribute towards the hire of the exhibition space, the catalogue and the private view to which all contributors will be invited, as well as associated costs of running an exhibition.

Ten per cent of proceeds raised and 10 per cent of all sales will be donated to the Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead, where Simon spent his final days.

“I still meet many people who remember him with affection and love,” said Simon’s sister, Jane Black.

“I recently went to a Habonim reunion as Simon was a youth leader with them. So many people talked to me about him and how much they missed him.”

The planned exhibition will be an opportunity to look at how Simon’s work developed over his 30-year career as an artist.

Simon was raised in Prestwich, the son of Phyllis and Reuben Black.

Reuben was a talented amateur painter.

Simon was a pupil at King David Primary School and Stand Grammar School and studied a foundation year in art at Manchester Polytechnic before attending Wolverhampton Polytechnic, where he gained a BA in fine art and printmaking.

In 1985, he took a course at Rochdale College of Art on continuing study and practice of the arts and then moved to London.

“Simon always retained strong links to Manchester and the north-west,” explained Jane, who lives in Prestwich.

“The Portico Library, in Manchester, displayed his work as part of 200 years of Jews in the city and, after he died, the Manchester Jewish Museum displayed his work, too.

“He married Raina under a chuppa at Marie Louise Gardens, Didsbury, and made the scene into one of his paintings.

“There was a strong Jewish theme in his work.”

Simon exhibited regularly both in solo and group exhibitions at London’s Greenwich Unicorn Gallery, The Mall Galleries and The Millinery Works, as well as the Cornelius Gallery for Contemporary Art in Ross-on-Wye.

And, in 2001, he won first prize in the Art Royal Free Project, at London’s Royal Free Hospital, which led to him being commissioned to produce six works depicting life in the hospital.

Those works can now be seen hanging in its atrium.

“Simon was an extremely talented person and very much his own person, too,” Jane added.

“I remember, when he was a leader at Habonim, he went on a visit to the Soviet Union pretending to be a tourist and helped smuggle religious books in by placing them in the lining of his coat.”

He and Raina have two children, Bobbie, 26, and 18-year-old Rebecca. Simon’s two brothers, Maurice and Adam, live in Hertfordshire and north London, respectively.

The crowdfunding page has already raised more than £6,000.

The exhibition, which will be on for two weeks, will display oil paintings, watercolours, etchings and drawings, as well as some of the sketchbooks Simon used for inspiration.

Some work will be on sale, as will prints of a few of his most loved images.

Visit simonblack.co.uk and to donate visit tinyurl.com/SBlackmemory


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