Edinburgh Art Festival

Infrastructures of care and pioneering activist movements

Edinburgh Art Fair
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Aug 9 - Aug 25
09:00 - 17:00

Edinburgh Art Festival

For their 2024 programme, EAF will invite audiences to join them in a moment to collectively pause and reflect upon the conditions under which we live, work, gather and resist. EAF will use the opportunity of their 20th Birthday to connect with historic and contemporary ways of organising that have built infrastructures of care and pioneering activist movements over the past 20 years (and beyond). Join EAF as they bring household names from across the world together with those living and working in Scotland, with exhibitions ranging from rare photographs to large scale sculpture and installation; to EAF’s curated weekend performance programme in unusual spaces across the city; and PLATFORM, where four Scotland-based artists will respond directly to the themes of the 2024 programme, centring intimacy, material memory, protest and persecution.

Kim McAleese, Director, EAF, said, “We want to connect to our current and historical context and the city – to those who inspire change and facilitate structures for working together and building collective futures. In this year’s programme, a range of projects from Scottish and international artists invite you to take a moment to pause, and consider how we have arrived here.”

Edinburgh Art Fair

Edinburgh Art Fair

Drawing on these themes, major solo shows take place across the city, bringing international artists to Scotland for the first time. Co-commissioned by EAF and Auto Italia, Karol Radziszewski’s curated exhibition collects rare photographs and ephemera to trace the history of Filo Magazine, one of the first underground queer magazines in Central-Eastern Europe founded by activist Ryszard Kisiel. Begun in response to Polish communist police’s suppression of sexual minorities, underground magazine Filo furthered activist conversations about sexuality, creativity and politics. As part of the weekend events programme, Prem Sahib will present their performance work Alleus, co-commissioned with Roberts Institute of Art and Somerset House Studios. The first time Sahib has worked with live vocalists, the work is a polyphony of live and pre-recorded voices. Alleus – ‘Suella’ spelled backwards – re-orders, re-directs and disrupts an anti-immigration speech by former home secretary Suella Braverman. Performed live under Edinburgh Castle in a carpark, by a group of vocalists, and with additional production developed in collaboration with artist Woodsy Bransfield, Sahib’s piece works to resist the damaging speech practices often ‘legitimised’ by politicians and echoed through society in hate speech.

The first-ever solo exhibition in Scotland of the work of Ibrahim Mahama; a Ghanaian artist critically acclaimed for his evocative large-scale, site-specific installations that speak to the cultural and social effects of post-colonialism and global migration, takes place at Fruitmarket. At Talbot Rice Gallery, El Anatsui’s exhibition will comprise a large selection of his iconic sculptural wall hangings, wooden reliefs and works on paper and will be the most significant exploration of El Anatsui’s practice, which spans more than five decades, ever staged in the UK. Los Angeles based painter Hayley Barker will make her first exhibition in Europe at Ingleby, where landscape and nature paintings strike a seemingly impossible harmony between intimacy and grandeur, appearing simultaneously dense and intricately painted, and yet open and full of space.

Artists living and working in Scotland are also at the centre stage of the EAF Birthday programme. This year’s PLATFORM artists Alaya Ang, Edward Gwyn Jones, Tamara MacArthur and Kialy Tihngang, selected by Amal Khalaf and Eliel Jones, and EAF curator Eleanor Edmondson, will respond directly to the themes of the 2024 programme, centering intimacy, material memory, protest and persecution. Alaya Ang is a multi-disciplinary artist who seeks to unravel the multiple material and symbolic fractures produced by colonialism and capitalism, bringing in their connection to Singapore, Scotland and something deep within the sea. Ang’s work for Platform 2024 is a composition looking at the breath, and the architecture of the weather defined by words and utterances, often referencing a saturated state, such as humidity and conditions of productivity and their effects on the body. Edward Gwyn Jones is an artist working with moving image, text and printmaking. Edward is motivated by a desire to understand and complicate persistent social, technological, and personal histories through the reframing of seductive and latent artefacts.  Kialy Tihngang works in sculpture, video, textiles, animation and photomontage, typically involving elaborate sets, costumes, graphics, props, and collaborations with performers and musicians.  Tamara MacArthur uses installation and durational performance to explore longing, futility and the boundaries of intimacy. Their glittering installations are constructed for a moment of emotional intimacy between the viewer and themself. Now in its tenth year, this annual group exhibition is designed to provide a dedicated platform for early-career artists based in Scotland and working in the field of contemporary art within EAF’s programme. EAF will also be collaborating with The Skinny for a third year to commission emerging writers Celeste Macleod-Brown, Ella Williamson, Gabrielle Tse, and Rory McMillan to respond creatively to the Platform works and the EAF24 programme at large.

Major institutional shows at Edinburgh’s museums and national galleries will also feature in the EAF24 programme. This includes Women in Revolt! – the National Galleries of Scotland’s survey of feminist art that celebrates the women who challenged and changed the face of British culture, restaged in Scotland following its presentation at Tate Britain.  At the National Museums of Scotland, a new exhibition draws on Scotland’s rich history of Cold War-era protest and activism. Stills Centre for Photography presents Home: Ukrainian Photography, UK Words, a touring showcase with Ukrainian Photographies, featuring contemporary Ukrainian photographers exploring the meaning of home.

Meanwhile, across the city, Laura Aldridge and Andrew Sim will transform Jupiter Artland with Aldridge’s richly glazed ceramics, light, videos, textiles and sound, alongside Sim’s paintings depicting a dreamlike forest, with plants and trees growing beneath rainbows and star-studded skies. Making a return to Scotland for the first time, meanwhile, will be Dovecot Studios’ major tapestry with Chris Ofili first created in Edinburgh. Collective also welcomes back early committee member Moyna Flannigan for an exhibition of new work featuring collages, alongside a constellation of paper sculptures that extend the principles of collage into three-dimensional form and space. Sequoia Barnes takes viewers on an Afro-surreal retelling of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby, this new body of work unravels how the consumption of cuteness perpetuates oppression and marginalisation including racialisation, infantilism, misogyny and brutality at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. At Edinburgh Printmakers, Ade Adesina will showcase experimental prints combining inspiration from Adesina’s African roots, British culture, and travelling into international landscapes, while Tayo Adekunle repurposes the imagery of ethnographic exhibitions into a powerful commentary on the fetishisation of Black women’s bodies. Collectively-run gallery Sett Studios will showcase a vibrant range of work from their member artists, alongside a solo show from their youngest member, multidisciplinary creative, textiles artist, and DJ Rory Dixon.

Sarah MacIntyre, Visual Arts Officer at Creative Scotland commented: “EAF’s 20th edition is set to bring a rich and captivating programme throughout the city. With collaboration at its heart, this year’s festival invites us to pause, reflect and imagine different futures. Taking place in established and less well-known spaces across the city, it offers audiences an opportunity to experience some of the most exciting art being made in Scotland and internationally. We wish all the artists and festival partners well and look forward to exploring the great range of exhibitions and events taking place across the city this summer”


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