Artistic Celebration

Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF), one of the largest annual festivals of visual art in the UK, announces details of its 14th edition, including partner exhibitions and pop-up events by contemporary and modern artists. This year, as Edinburgh celebrates its 70th anniversary as a Festival City, EAF will present over 45 exhibitions across more than 35 venues, combining ambitious presentations of Scottish and international contemporary art with important survey shows, as well as site-specific pop-ups and artist-run spaces.

Highlights of the 2017 programme include key solo exhibitions by internationally recognised artists, including Jac Leirner at The Fruitmarket Gallery; Pablo Bronstein at Jupiter Artland; Ed Ruscha at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; and Patrick Staff at Collective. Alongside these international representatives, a series of solo presentations by Scotland’s leading artists will be showcased across the city. Prominent exhibitions include Douglas Gordon and Graham Fagen at Scottish National Portrait Gallery; Stephen Sutcliffe at Talbot Rice Gallery; and winner of the 2016 Margaret Tait Prize, Kate Davis, at Stills.

Elsewhere, plans for significant survey and historical shows have been unveiled, including an overview of British Realist Painting at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; a celebration of the great landscape painters John Constable and William McTaggart at the Scottish National Gallery; the largest exhibition in 70 years about the Jacobites at the National Museum of Scotland; and works by Hanna Tuulikki and Fiona Mathison in an exhibition exploring the history and cultural identity of women expressed in their work in textiles at Dovecot Gallery.

Additionally, and to mark the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh as The Festival City and the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, City Art Centre will stage an A-Z tour of their collection. Key figures in the history of photography are explored in various venues this year with a major show of work by Crimean war photographer Roger Fenton at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, and an exploration of duo Hill & Adamson at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Notable group exhibitions to see include the inaugural presentation in the six-part series of NOW at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, with work by Mona Hatoum, Rivane Neuenschwander and Nathan Coley; pairings of artists at Ingleby to celebrate their 20th anniversary; and Edinburgh Printmakers’ New Edition, with work by Museums Press, Poster Club and Emer Tumilty. Furthermore, presentations of contemporary artists working in expanded contexts include new commissions from Laura Aldridge, Bobby Niven and Oliver Osborne alongside rarely seen archival material at Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

New work from Charlotte Barker can also be seen at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, in addition to shows by Sue Jane Taylor at the National Museum of Scotland; Thought Collider at New Media Scotland; and a collaborative project centred around the work of Melbourne-based writer Jessica Yu, leading to the establishment of an in-gallery press at Rhubaba. The work of emerging Scottish artists will also be showcased, including Ross Little at Collective, Jacob Kerray at Talbot Rice Gallery, Marco Giordano and Pester & Rossi at Jupiter Artland; MA degree show at Edinburgh College of Art; and a series of artists in residence at The Number Shop. 2.

Sorcha Carey, Director of Edinburgh Art Festival, said: “As Edinburgh celebrates 70 years of festival culture, our festival continues to bring together the city’s leading museums and galleries in a unique celebration of the very best of visual art. With exhibitions across the length and breadth of the city – the vast majority of which are free – Edinburgh Art Festival offers an unrivalled opportunity to immerse yourself in art drawn from across the world and the centuries, stretching from Caravaggio and Constable, by way of Turner Prize winners, to the most exciting recent graduates making art today.”

You can hear more from Sorcha Carey at the Aesthetica Future Now Symposium on 25-26 May, where she will be speaking in conversation with Steven Gartside (Holden Gallery) about the transformation of cities as creative platforms. For details, visit

The Edinburgh Art Festival, 27 July – 27 August, venues across Edinburgh.

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1. Nathan Coley, The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh, 2004. Courtesy of EAF.