A bold neon artwork inviting commuters to contemplate life pays tribute to two south Asian mothers who supported their sons' recovery from substance use.

Centrally placed within an overhead walkway at Rochdale Interchange, the work was created by internationally acclaimed artist Sutapa Biswas.

Entitled Out of the place and at the margins: A hundred songs for Kneeze and Vijay, it explores substance use in South Asian communities and is based on a poem written by the artist, which celebrates diversity.

The installation reads "listen to my pulse. And walk tall I, free like river water let me be".

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Over several months Sutapa, who was born in West Bengal, India, worked with a number of men from the Rochdale area. According to the project's commissioner,  their collaboration highlighted the taboo nature of addiction within the South Asian community and in this instance, how a mothers' support was central to overcoming this much misunderstood health issue.

Sutapa, a senior lecturer at the Manchester School of Art, who has work in the Tate's permanent collection, said: "I hope this work acts as a kind of incantation for the viewer with the intention to liberate the spirit and to amplify the voices of the often unheard.

"I don't know if I have any real answers - perhaps just even more questions.” 

Mark Prest, director of the Oldham-based visual arts organisation Portraits of Recovery (PORe) who commissioned the work said: "Picture an addict, what do you see?  Someone white, probably working class and straight – a stereotype straight out of Trainspotting.

"Recovery for me is about freedom. But where is the freedom when treatment services are not 'culturally' representative and fail to meet the needs of diverse people and their communities?

"Tailored, more inclusive approaches to recovery are critical and a civil and human right. Otherwise this can lead to a sense of alienation from the very system that is supposed to be supporting them.

"A project aim was to increase visibility and highlight the need for better tailored and diverse approaches to recovery. Also to challenge and change often stigmatised attitudes to substance use and those suffering from it".