FOR more than 25 years DJ Paulette has been one of the most influential music figures in the country.

Now the former Hacienda regular can add the title ‘artist’ to her list of achievements with the opening at the weekend of a special exhibition at the Lowry, Salford Quays.

For Paulette has devised and curated the inter-active exhibition Homebird which runs until mid October.

“It’s not every day that the director of an internationally-renowned art gallery comes to you and says ‘we’ve read a poem that you have written, we’ve had a look at your website and looked at what you’re interested in and we’d like you to come and do one of our Edit series’,” she said.

“It’s been the most enormous learning curve for me,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t going to be left on my own to figure it all out. The Lowry can’t just leave me to draw stick men and put them on the wall – the gallery has a reputation to maintain!”

A keen lover of the arts, Pauline had strong ideas about what she wanted to achieve.

“The first thing I wanted to do was not tell a DJ story even though I that’s the job I’ve had the longest in my life,” she said. “Even though that has been a constant, I have had other experiences in my life which I’ve always felt should carry equal weight.

“I basically went to the team at the Lowry and said, ‘this is the story I want to tell, now how can I make that into art?’

“I can’t believe how they have translated my ideas into art in the wall; they are incredible people.”

Homebird features 15 different walls all representing different aspects of Paulette’s life which visitors to the gallery reach by negotiating their way through a maze. The inter-active show is accompanied by six playlists chosen by Paulette which reflect the different decades of her life.

What makes the exhibition all the more impressive is that Paulette didn’t start work on it until July.

“In that time also I’ve been DJ-ing and teaching as well,” she said. “I still have to live in the real world so I’ve basically been doing three jobs.”

The various walls of the exhibition reflect different aspects of Paulette’s life combined with social history.

“My family is first generation black British,” she said. “My mum came from Jamaica as part of the post Windrush generation. I was a kid growing up in Thatcher’s Britain and I wanted to share some of the experiences of that time.”

The whole experience has proved an emotional one for Paulette.

“I have had to do a massive amount of unearthing,” she said, “and some of the memories have been quiet raw. It’s like opening a Pandora’s Box and I suppose you have to be ready for whatever comes out.

Social change, mental health, family relationships and changing fashions and styles all feature in the exhibition.

And Paulette has also taken the opportunity to set the record straight on the pioneering work that she and other women in the music industry have been involved in. Although the first female DJ at the Hacienda and a leading figure in the Nineties dance scene, she has almost been ‘airbrushed’ out of history.

“For years I never said anything about it,” she said. “but now I’m old enough not to care if anyone feels uncomfortable if I say ‘this is wrong’.”

Paulette hopes that Homebird might ge taken up by other galleries.

“I’d love for it to be taken to London,” she said. “That for me would be an absolute dream.”

Homebird, the Lowry, Salford Quays, Saturday, September 22 to Sunday, October 14