New Ian Curtis mural appears in Northern Quarter as part of Headstock festival

  • Mural of Ian Curtis appears in Northern Quarter
  • Mural commissed by Headstock festival
  • Singer ended his life in 1980 at just 23

A mural depicting the former Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis has been unveiled in the Northern Quarter to commemorate world mental health day.

The mural is adjacent to the car park on Port Street and is based on an image of Curtis taken by Kevin Cummins.

The mural was commissioned by Headstock festival, by the established Manchester-based street artist Akse-P19, who has painted murals of Manchester icons such as graphic designer Peter Savile in Withington and Fall frontman Mark E Smith outside a chip shop in Prestwich.

Curtis was just 23 when he took his own life in 1980 as Joy Division were about to embark on a tour of the US.

A suffer of epilepsy and depression, Curtis’ ended his life at a time when mental health was largely not discussed.

Following on from his death, the three remaining members of Joy Division, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris went on to form New Order with the later addition of Morris’ partner, Gillian Gilbert.


Former bandmate Peter Hook said: “I was in anticipation going up to see it as there and when I got there and finally saw it, it was absolutely breathtaking.

It was very sad, but [I felt] very proudful – knowing what Ian went through and how he acted to his illness. I wish I could have gone back and checked how he felt and helped him in some way.

“Going down to it, everyone couldn’t simply walk past it, it was amazing it really is a sight to behold”.

Joy Division Cred: Anton Corbijn, Commons Wikimedia
Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Alexis Ortega)

John Robb, veteran music journalist and founder of Louder Than War said:  “I like how its stuck on a remote house on the edge of Northern Quarter and if you at the painting back across the city centre it with the moody New Manhattan skylines you get all these different views of Manchester as a backdrop to Ian Curtis and Joy Division.

“Without Joy Division, without Factory [Records] you won’t get the post-industrial city of Manchester.”