Mural of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis painted over with advert

<span>Photograph: Jon Super/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Jon Super/Alamy

A mural of former Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis on Port Street, Manchester, has been painted over with an advert for local rapper Aitch, prompting such an outcry that the rapper has promised to restore the original painting.

Aitch, an MC from Moston in north Manchester, said he had no control over which billboards were used to advertise his new album and would never have sanctioned such an act of “disrespect” against a “local hero”.

“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,” he tweeted. “I don’t just choose locations for billboards,” he added.

Aitch’s response was welcomed by Peter Hook, Joy Division’s bassist, who had responded with dismay to the mural being painted over as “very sad to see”.

“Thank you @OfficialAitch great gesture,” he tweeted.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, also commended Aitch for fixing the mistake.

“It should never have happened and he shouldn’t have been put in this position. Ian is a true icon of our city. He must be fully restored and left in his place for time in memoriam. Thanks to everyone for showing what Ian means to us,” tweeted Burnham.

The monochrome mural by graffiti artist Akse P19 was created in October 2020 to commemorate World Mental Health Day. It depicts Curtis performing in Brussels in 1979, a year before he killed himself.