August 2021 Holds Promise of Return of the Edinburgh Art Festival

Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF), the platform for the visual arts at the heart of Edinburgh’s August festivals, has been running since 2004. It brings together the capital’s leading galleries, museums, production facilities and artist-run spaces in a city-wide celebration of the very best in visual art. Each year EAF comprises newly commissioned artworks by leading and emerging artists, alongside a programme of exhibitions curated and presented by partners across the city.

Following its 2020 cancellation, and a particularly challenging period for the creative sector, it is confirmed that EAF will return in 2021 from 29 July to 29 August, bringing  together over 35 exhibitions and new commissions in visual art spaces across the city, complemented by an online programme of events and digital presentations.

This year’s programme continues to place collaboration at its heart, with a series of festival-led commissions and premieres devised and presented in close partnership with leading visual arts organisations and a specially invited programme of new commissions curated in partnership with an Associate Artist.

As galleries begin to reopen after many months of closure, a spotlight will be shone on the ambitious and inventive programming produced each year by Edinburgh’s visual arts community. In a rich and characteristically diverse programme of exhibitions, audiences can safely enjoy new work made in direct response to the experiences of last year with  projects, exhibitions and perspectives that have been many years in the making.

Highlights of this year’s EAF include the chance for festival audiences to experience the newly redeveloped Fruitmarket opening with Karla Black; the chance to discover new generation artists, including the return of Platform,  Satellite participant Alison Scott at Collective, and Ashanti Harris at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop; New Associate Artist strand curated by Tako Taal and featuring newly commissioned work from six artists; Sekai Machache at Stills and Sonia Mehra Chawla at Edinburgh Printmakers. 

There will also be 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. Add to this several retrospectives and major survey shows including The Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasureat National Museum of Scotland; Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour at The Queen’s Gallery; Joan Eardley at The Scottish Gallery and  Archie Brennan at the Dovecot Studios.

All EAF venues will be following the latest government Covid guidelines to ensure visitor safety, and their  website will be regularly updated on what audiences can expect during their visit. Further safety guidance for this year’s festival will be published in July via    

Irene Brown

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