Garson Sol

Sol Garson

Born 1923, Garson was a glassworker for much of his life, as well as being a life-long and a Manchester-based Communist. In 1950, along with a fellow Communist artist, Brian Ridgeway, Garson was working in Manchester‘s Unity Theatre. This set him off on a trail of devotion to the creative arts that would dominate the rest of his life, as a writer, painter and, most especially, as a sculptor.
In 1967 Garson and Ridgeway developed plans for a studio. The fourth floor of the warehouse on Back George Street became a studio with key-holding membership. A group centred on art classes developed into Manchester Unity of Arts Society under the guidance of its first chairman, Sid Booth, artist, active member of the AEU, and former International Brigader. By November 1969, Unity of Arts had called a conference at the AEU offices in Salford to discuss how to further progress the famous Resolution 42 might be implemented locally. This was a motion to the TUC annual conference that focused upon links between the arts and the labour movement.
Garson created a wooden sculpture of Nelson Mandela, which was placed in Manchester Town Hall’s main entrance area in 1986, to be later given to its subject. A commemorative plaque on the sculpture read: "Nelson Mandela: Lawyer and Politician and a National Organiser of the African National Congress sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 by the South African regime. Sculpted by Sol Garson of Manchester and held in trust by Manchester City Council until it can be presented to Nelson Mandela."
Sol Garson also produced a memorial to the International Brigades at the Working Class Movement Library in Salford and was a regular contributor to the 1970s creative writing journal, `Voices’.



Right: a 1978 self-explanatory cartoon by Sol for Voices!

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