press release

July 29–August 29, 2021

Edinburgh Art Festival 2021
17th edition

We are delighted to announce our return, from July 29 to August 29 this year, following the cancellation of the 2020 festival.

Our 17th edition brings together over 35 exhibitions and new commissions in visual art spaces across the city, complemented by an online programme of events and digital presentations.

Following an exceptionally challenging period for the creative sector, this year, more than any, we are proud to cast a spotlight on the uniquely ambitious, inventive and thoughtful programming produced each year by Edinburgh’s visual art community.


Highlights from the programme

Our festival-led programming features major new commissions and presentations by leading international artists, including the UK & European premiere of Lessons of the Hour by Isaac Julien in partnership with National Galleries of Scotland; and two new festival co-commissions, with work by Sean Lynch in collaboration with Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop; and a sound installation by Emeka Ogboh with Talbot Rice Gallery.

In a new approach for the festival, we are delighted to collaborate with Glasgow based artist, filmmaker and programmer, Tako Taal as Associate Artist. Responding to the festival’s invitation to reflect on themes and ideas emerging from Isaac Julien’s Lessons of the Hour, Taal has invited new commissions for public and digital spaces, by a new generation of artists living and working in Scotland: Chizu Anucha, Sequoia Barnes, Francis Dosoo, Thulani Rachia, Camara Taylor and Matthew Arthur Williams.

We will also see the return of Platform, the festival’s annual showcase supporting artists in the early stages of their careers to make and present new work—with Jessica Higgins, Danny Pagarani, Kirsty Russell and Isabella Widger invited to create new work for Platform: 2021 at Institut français d’Ecosse.

There will also be chance to discover new generation artists at some of our partner galleries across Edinburgh, including the work of Satellite participant Alison Scott at Collective, Sekai Machache at Stills, Andrew Gannon at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and gobscure at Edinburgh Printmakers.

Solo presentations across the capital include Christine Borland at Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Alberta Whittle and Rachel Maclean at Jupiter Artland, Frank Walter at Ingleby Gallery, Ian Hamilton Finlay at The City Art Centre, Sonia Mehra Chawla at Edinburgh Printmakers, Jock McFadyen at Dovecot Studios and a major exhibition by the artist Karla Black for the newly developed and reopened Fruitmarket.

This year’s edition will also feature important retrospectives and major survey shows including The Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure at National Museum of Scotland, Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour at The Queen’s Gallery and Archie Brennan at Dovecot Studios.

Edinburgh’s commercial galleries present a richly diverse offering including; a new group show from Arusha Gallery and Ella Walker, Shaun Fraser and Will Maclean at The Fine Art Society, Leon Morrocco at Open Eye Gallery and the centenary of the birth of Joan Eardley is marked with an extensive new show at The Scottish Gallery.

The festival is also planning a series of digital events, to include artist and curator conversations, bespoke tours through the programme, events and activities for families and community groups, as well as newly commissioned work for digital space.