Something old, something new. 

The changing face of Rochdale town centre over the last decade has been captured by local artist John Cooke.

Three pieces of John’s ‘expressionist’ style work, which involves digital screen printing based on a photograph, have now been moved from display at MediaCityUK to a permanent home at Rochdale Central Library.

The Quays Culture arts team in Salford invited John to produce the original artwork to represent their theme of ‘past and future’.
OLD: His first image is of the old main council building, known locally as ‘the black box.’
So, having witnessed first-hand the major improvements in recent years John used the town centre regeneration as his inspiration.
PROGRESS: The construction of Number One Riverside in the background, alongside in-progress demolition of ‘the black box’.
His first image is of the old main council building, known locally as ‘the black box’, which had a reputation as one of the regions ugliest buildings.
OLD: His first image is of the old main council building, known locally as ‘the black box.’
Another shows the construction of its replacement – Number One Riverside in the background,  alongside in-progress demolition of ‘the black box’.
His third image shows the new Number One Riverside, which has won multiple awards for design and architecture as well as being named the ‘best office’ and ‘best workplace’ in the UK by the BCO (British Council of Offices.)

The work gives you a glimpse into how the town centre has moved on, said John:

“The town centre really has moved forward over the last ten years, going from one extreme to the other, from a depressing unloved building dominating the skyline to the modern and stylish Number One Riverside which makes a bold statement about the ambition in the town again.
As a building, it’s much more popular with residents and staff… you can see how Rochdale is improving now and I wanted to reflect some of that in this work.”
After previously being on show at MediaCityUK the artwork is now on the wall of Rochdale Central Library after John donated it to the council.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture at Rochdale Borough Council, said:

 “Thank you to John for giving us these striking colourful pieces of art which I am pleased to say are now on public display in our library.
They really capture a significant moment in our recent history and I can’t think of a more appropriate place for them to be.”

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