Manic Street Preachers lyricist and bassist Nicky Wire recently called the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery to see a new portrait of him by artist Jane Sanders and he graciously accepted a photo in front of the artwork (left) which is displayed alongside his own that he donated to the Museum, along with ephemera from his very first solo art exhibition in 2018 titled Paintings and Polaroids.
Nicky said at the time: “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery really is the most perfect setting – it’s one of my favorite places to let my mind wander. . This summer, it finally felt like the time was right to pull together three decades of work for this show.
“Some of the Polaroids are 25 years old and fade before your eyes on display. Love it all – the vanishing world! Several were what Nicky called “mini-tributes to people and places who have brought me comfort and inspiration for years”.
This year the Museum received another work inspired by Nicky – this time a textile piece by Jane Sanders, who is based in Newcastle upon Tyne and sews portraits of musicians on her vintage Singer sewing machine in her kitchen – hence , she often works under the appropriate name ‘Stitchin In The Kitchen’.
Jane has been a long time fan of the Manics and fascinated by the visuals and fashions that surround the group. She was inspired for her work by the fact that Nicky Wire often personalized her jackets with patches and badges that fans sent her and she used that as a starting point. She started by sewing a portrait of Nicky in a plain black jacket.
In the summer of 2018, she put out a request to the group’s subscribers to see if they would be willing to send her something she could sew onto her jacket.
“I wasn’t sure what response I would get, but very soon I was overwhelmed with donations from all over the UK and around the world,” Jane explained.
“An unexpected surprise were the letters that accompanied the items, explaining their meaning, which was often quite emotional and personal. I soon discovered that the fans were like a family that supported each other and was touched by their generosity.
“The picture always felt like a collaborative project, and I wasn’t happy to sell it to a private buyer when so many people had kindly contributed to it. I posted a short video online, asking fans for suggestions for a public permanent residence for Nicky.
“The most popular suggestion was Tenby Museum and Art Gallery. It’s a place that has direct ties to Nicky as he had his own exhibit here in 2018. In fact, one of the sewn-on dons on the jacket is an invitation to a private view of his show.
“Ultimately, I think this portrait highlights the importance that music plays in people’s lives and how a shared interest in a band can unite people into a family,” she added.
Museum curator Mark Lewis said of Nicky’s recent visit: “It was good to see him again enjoying Tenby and the museum.”