Mansha Sweet Centre, A Hit With The Locals!Mansha Sweet Centre started of with their first branch in ‘home sweet home’ Nelson, Lancashire, back in 1999. Their selection of freshly-cooked asian sweets, confectionary and savouries made them quickly become ‘jam-packed’ (forgive the pun) with customers every time you visited. Yes, be it morning, lunch or evening, Mansha’s on Manchester Road, Nelson was heaving with hungry heads buying their ladoos, samosas or chicken rolls – with mint sauce, please. So with the new food a hit amongst the locals and afar, it’s no surprise that a few more branches quickly opened in nearby Burnley and Bolton.
In around August 2009, the Nelson branch was being extended to cover the shop next door. Everything was fully renovated and no expense was spared. New lightings and fixtures, tiling, windows, doors and just about everything else was upgraded and the work was done to a seriously high standard. The owner of Mansha’s, a very humble and polite chap called Sajid, had a keen eye for design anyway. He knew exactly what he wanted and took a hands-on approach during the renovation. He approached me to commision two 30″ x 20″ abstract portraits that would be the centre-piece of the new extended shops.
The Two SubjectsThe sentimental aspect of the project was that both subjects of the portraits were deceased. The portraits would be a fitting tribute and would immortalise their memories. Mansha’s is named after Sajid’s late father, Ghulam Mansha. The second portrait was of renowned Pakistani scholar and spiritual leader Pir Syed Naseer Uddin Naseer, who passed away in February, 2009. Two photographs were provided to me and I set about visualising the project. I wanted to create something that would be totally unique, yet resemble the subjects with true likenesses.
Hand-PaintingUsing acrylic paints on flat-canvas-board, I opted for an ‘abstract yet life-like’ feel to the portraits. Instead of using real-life flesh and hair tones, I discussed with Sajid the possibility of using the same green within the Mansha Sweet Centre branding, and using the various shades of green in and around the faces. Highlights and tones would be depicted using light and dark shades of the same green colour. It would give a more contemporary feel to the portraits, yet still keep them life-like. The background would be beige geometric shapes so it stood out against the green. He liked the idea and trusted my judgement.
Frames, Mounts, Glass and PlacqueThe hand-painting was finished within eight days. However, to create a real visual spectacle, both portraits were to be framed and mounted. I chose a ‘double-frame’ consisting of a thin aluminium outer frame and a thicker ‘black-wood’ inner frame. The grey and black colours contrasted well with the green and beige paints used. The canvas was mounted inside a 1″ white mount and covered with glass. This made the portraits look bigger and more ‘exclusive’, I should say. The finishing touches were a matching black and silver engraved placque for each portrait reading ‘Ghulam Mansha – by Herbie Hysteria’ and ‘Pir Syed Naseer Uddin Naseer – by Herbie Hysteria’ respectively. Colour co-ordination of the placques and frames was standard to me. It just HAD to be perfect. Nothing short of perfect.
Prime PositioningWith the existing floor-plan of the shop, there was a perfect position for the portraits to be hung. This was on either side of the main entrance. The door was in a corner so both sides were angled towards you as you left the shop. The width on each side was just about right to accomodate the width of the portraits once they were mounted and framed.
For me, this was a thoroughly satisfying project. The fact that it had a huge sentimental factor to it made me push myself further to make my client proud. I’ve had some great feedback and am happy I could deliver a custom product to a client who is already way-ahead in his game! Here’s to Mansha’s! Two chicken-rolls with mint sauce, please(!)
Your Comments and Feedback
Have you been to Mansha’s and seen the portraits? What do you think? I’d love all your feedback and responses to this project. If you’re from Nelson, Burnley or the surrounding areas, or even if you’re half way across the world, your comments are much appreciated.