Billboards and adverts have been set up to advertise the release of Aitch's album Close To Home on 19 August, but a number of Mancunians were outraged to see one of them being placed on Port Street in the city centre's Northern Quarter, over the top of the painting of the Joy Division frontman.
One local drew attention to the scene with a post on Twitter, writing: "just to let everyone in #manchester know something criminal is happening in NQ and the beautiful ian curtis mural is being painted over by an ad for an @OfficialAitch album. noooooo."
just to let everyone in #manchester know something criminal is happening in NQ and the beautiful ian curtis mural is being painted over by an ad for an @OfficialAitch album 😭 😭 😭 noooooo pic.twitter.com/m2QLQi056Y— vic (@vickc23) August 16, 2022
The mural of Curtis was unveiled in 2020 in a partnership between Manchester City Council and music and mental health festival Headstock, and featured a close-up image of the singer's face as he held a microphone to his mouth.
After Aitch was made aware of the placement of his advert, he responded to tell his followers he isn't responsible for choosing locations for billboards and said the tweet about it was 'the first time' he'd seen it himself.
"Getting fixed as we speak," he added.
The rapper later shared another post, writing: "It’s come to light that the iconic Ian Curtis mural on Port Street has been painted over with my album artwork. This is the first time I’ve heard of this, me and my team are getting this fixed pronto. No way on earth would I want to disrespect a local hero like Ian."
It’s come to light that the iconic Ian Curtis mural on Port Street has been painted over with my album artwork. This is the first time I’ve heard of this, me and my team are getting this fixed pronto. No way on earth would I want to disrespect a local hero like Ian.— Aitch (@OfficialAitch) August 16, 2022
In the wake of the incident, street and graffiti artist Akse, who was responsible for creating the mural in 2020, said it 'should have remained for what it represented and stood for'.
In a post on Instagram, he noted that he himself makes a living from hand-painted advertising, but added: "This mural was painted in collaboration with @headstockuk and supported by @manchestercitycouncil and @sweetnothingmcr to raise awareness for Mental Health and support @giveusashoutinsta a free text messaging services to help people with mental health issues.
"It had become a cultural landmark and meant so much to people from Manchester and beyond; it doesn’t take much common sense to understand that this mural should have remained for what it represented and stood for. Of course, we are proud of Aitch as another artist from Manchester who is successful, but many people will be upset by this."
"Personally, I felt it was such a special piece of artwork. But at the same time, nothing is permanent and musical culture is always changing," he continued.
Aitch looks to be making good on his promise as more recent images show the wall has been buffed clean of his advert, though it's unclear how he will make amends for the removal of the Curtis mural.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS