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Celebrating Manchester, indian artist paints nonstop for 65 hours

Indian artist Nikhil Chopra painted for a marathon 65 hours at an art event that drew inspiration from the historic roots of Manchester as the world’s first industrial city. Chopra’s art event called ‘Coal on Cotton’ was held at the Whitworth Art Gallery as part of the Manchester International Festival, Xinhua reported. His performance explored the relationship between Manchester’s textiles and the people who made them in India and Britain.

Chopra began the event at dawn Friday as the light filtered in through the Victorian glass roof of the gallery. He lived and worked in the gallery throughout the 65-hour span of the event, living entirely in public view for that time, as he drew paintings in coal on cotton fabric.Throughout the weekend, Chopra worked and slept in a huge cotton tent he erected in the half-completed landscape gallery, due to be finished next summer. Chopra also drew on his family’s history and the historic trade links between Manchester and Mumbai, the city where he was born. ‘We don’t think the gallery has stayed open all night since World War II, so we are pushing the boundaries of what a gallery does,’ Maria Balshaw, director of the Whitworth Art Gallery, told Xinhua. 

The event also began a final season of programmes for the renowned gallery in Manchester, which closes its doors 22 September for a 12-million-pound refurbishment. ‘We have put our crown jewels on display with these exhibitions,’ said Balshaw. Highlights of the event include works by 19th century English painters J.M.W. Turner and William Blake, and contemporary Indianborn British artist Anish Kapoor, whose Mittal Tower was the highest point in the Olympic Park at the London Olympic Games. The gallery will reopen in June 2014.

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