What's on at the Edinburgh Art Festival 2021? All the artists and exhibitions at this year's art showcase

After a year-long hiatus for the Edinburgh Festivals, the Capital’s range of annual cultural events are whirring back into life this summer.

Thursday July 29 sees the Edinburgh Art Festival arrive back in the Scottish Capital after its 2020 edition was postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic, along with the Edinburgh Fringe, the Edinburgh International Film Festival and more cultural events put on hold for an unforgettable year.

But for a month from today until August 29, locals and visitors to the city alike will be able to visit over 35 exhibitions and a range of stunning commissions in artistic spaces across the city – with those at home also able to view a number of events and exhibitions online.

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What's on at the Edinburgh Art Festival 2021? All the artists and venues featuring at this year's art showcase revealed (Image credit: Duncan McGlynn)

The 17th edition of the Edinburgh Art Festival for 2021 presents modern and classical artists alongside an array of sound, digital, film and sculpture to bring the festival back with a bang.

Here’s everything you need to know about the artists, events and exhibitions on at the Edinburgh Art Festival 2021.

Which artists are showing at the Festival?

The Edinburgh Art Festival sees a variety of artists from different disciplines, backgrounds, nationalities and levels of experience celebrated for their work, with a whole host of art to see at venues dotted around the City.

Festival commissions this year will see Turner Prize-nominated British filmmaker Isaac Julien’s Lessons of the Hour make its UK premiere, with the filmmaker bringing ‘Scotland’s Anti-Slavery Agent’ Frederick Douglass and his love of Edinburgh to life in his new film installation.

A collaborative commission from the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Talbot Rice Gallery has also resulted in the sound installation by Emeka Ogboh, with

Song of the Union stationed at the Burns Monumentas a critical response to Brexit and its impact on the UK.

But alongside such commissioned artworks are early career artists like Jessica Higgins, Danny Pagarini, Kirsty Russell and Isabella Widger, who will feature at this year’s Platform 2021, bringing back the Edinburgh Art Festival’s annual supporting showcase for up and coming artists at Institut français d’Ecosse.

What venues are involved with the Art Festival?

Numerous venues around Edinburgh are taking part in this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival, with City’s resident art venues like the City Art Gallery, The Scottish Gallery and Dovecot Gallery hosting their usual plethora of exhibitions.

But the Festival will also see spots like the City Observatory, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden host an array of interdisciplinary arts against leafy natural backdrops.

Check out the full list of venues, events, exhibitions and artists at this year’s Festival below.

Complete listings for the Edinburgh Art Festival 2021

Exhibitions:

Alison Watt | A Portrait Without Likeness

July 17 – January 9 2022

Thursday – Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Free, book in advance (required) here

Boredom>Mischief>Fantasy>Radicalism>Fantasy – Christian Newby

Collective, City Observatory 38 Calton Hill Edinburgh EH7 5AA

May 13 – August 29

Tuesday – Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Free

Plotting (against) the garden – Alaya Ang and Hussein Mitha

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Bill Scott Sculpture Centre, 21 Hawthornvale, Edinburgh, EH6 4JT

July 23 – September 24

Daily (during the festival), 11am to 5pm

Free

Eccentric Limbs – Andrew Gannon

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Bill Scott Sculpture Centre, 21 Hawthornvale, Edinburgh, EH6 4JT

July 9 – September 26

Daily (during the festival), 11am to 5pm

Free

Clovehitch – Lucy Wayman

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Bill Scott Sculpture Centre, 21 Hawthornvale, Edinburgh, EH6 4JT

Ongoing/all day

Free

Sean Lynch: Tak' Tent O' Time Ere Time Be Tint

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Bill Scott Sculpture Centre, 21 Hawthornvale, Edinburgh, EH6 4JT

July 29 – August 29

Daily (during the festival), 11am to 5pm

Free

Bathing nervous limbs

Arusha Gallery, 13A Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6QG

July 29 – August 29

Monday – Saturday, 10am to 5pm

Sunday, 1 to 5pm

Free

Charles H. Mackie: Colour and Light

City Art Centre, 2 Market Street Edinburgh EH1 1DE

May 15 – October 10

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free, book in advance (required) here

Islander: The Paintings of Donald Smith

City Art Centre, 2 Market Street Edinburgh EH1 1DE

May 29 – September 26

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free, book in advance (required) here

Marine: Ian Hamilton Finlay

City Art Centre

May 22 – October 3

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free, book in advance (required) here

Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop!

Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT

April 26 – August 30

Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm

Free

Jock McFadyen: Lost Boat Party

Dovecot Studios

June 11 – September 25

Monday – Friday, 12noon to 3pm

Saturday, 10am to 5pm

Free

Owners of the Soil – Will Maclean and Shaun Fraser

The Fine Art Society, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ

July 29 – August 28

Monday – Friday, 10am to 6pm

Saturday, 11am to 4pm

Free

Karla Black: sculptures (2001­-2021) details for a retrospective

Fruitmarket, 45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF

July 7 – October 24

Daily, 11am to 6pm

Free

Music of The Spheres – Frank Walter

Ingleby, The Glasite Meeting House, 33 Barony St, Edinburgh, EH3 6NX

July 29 – September 25

Tuesday – Saturday (during August), 11am to 5pm

Free

The Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure

National Museum of Scotland

May 29 – September 12

Daily, 10am to 4:30pm

Free, book in advance (required) here

Projects 20 | Sekai Machache

Stills Centre for Photography, 23 Cockburn St, Edinburgh, EH1 1BP

July 29 – September 18

Tuesday – Saturday, 12noon to 5pm

Free

Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour

The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8DX

April 26 – October 3

Thursday – Monday, 9.30am to 6pm

£3.90 – £7.80

Emeka Ogboh: Song of the Union

Burns Monument, Regent Rd, Edinburgh, EH7 5BL

July 29 – August 29

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free

Platform: 2021 – Jessica Higgins, Danny Pagarani, Kirsty Russell and Isabella Widger

Institut français d'Ecosse, West Parliament Sq, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF

July 29 – August 29

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free

Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DR

July 29 – October 10

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free, book in advance (required) here

Matthew Arthur Williams: In guise of Land

Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden, Patrick Geddes Steps, Castle Wynd South, EH1 2PW

July 29 – August 29

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free

Francis Dosoo: What is behind the Saint’s eyes, when they look through tears to the altar?

Calton Road Billboards, 21 Calton Rd, EH8 8DL

July 29 – August 29

Daily

Free

Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two), 73 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DS

April 26 – February 20 2022

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Joan Eardley & Catterline

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DR

Until January 9 2022

Daily, 10am to 5pm

The Normal

Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL

May 18 – August 29

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free

upside mimi ᴉɯᴉɯ uʍop – Rachel Maclean

Jupiter Artland, Bonnington House Steadings, Edinburgh, EH27 8BY

May 8 onwards

Daily, 10am to 5pm

£5-£10, book in advance (required) here

Rotten TV – Jupiter Artland

April 1 – November 30

Daily, 24hr

RESET – Alberta Whittle

Jupiter Artland, Bonnington House Steadings, Edinburgh, EH27 8BY

July 18 – October 31

Daily, 10am to 5pm

£5-£10, book in advance (required) here

Thulani Rachia: obuyile

St Giles' Cathedral

July 29 – August 29

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free

Sequoia Barnes: Gateway

Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden, Patrick Geddes Steps, Castle Wynd South, EH1 2PW

July 29 – August 29

Daily, 10am to 5pm

Free

Camara Taylor: holus-bolus

July 29 – August 29

Daily, 24hr

Chizu Anucha: Slump, subside and other farewells

July 29 – August 29

Daily, 24hr

Joan Eardley, Centenary Exhibition

The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ

July 30 – August 28

Tuesday – Friday, 11am to 4pm

Saturday, 11am to 2pm

Free

The World’s Edge – Thomas Joshua Cooper

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JD​

July 31– January 23 2022

Thursday – Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Free, book in advance (required) here

Christine Borland: In Relation to Linum

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, West Gate, Arboretum Place, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ

July 31 – October 3

Daily, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Free

Leon Morrocco RSA RGI: Après-midi

Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6QE

August 3 – 28

Tuesday – Friday, 11am to 5pm

Saturday, 11am to 4pm

By appointment only, contact Open Eye here

Castle Mills Contemporary

Edinburgh Printmakers, Castle Mills, 1 Dundee St, Edinburgh, EH3 9FP

From August 4

Wednesday – Saturday

11am to 4pm

Free

Entanglements of Time & Tide – Sonia Mehra Chawla

Edinburgh Printmakers, Castle Mills, 1 Dundee St, Edinburgh, EH3 9FP

From August 4

Wednesday – Saturday, 11am to 4pm

Free

writing liberté with lips

Edinburgh Printmakers, Castle Mills, 1 Dundee St, Edinburgh, EH3 9FP

August 4 – 29

Wednesday – Saturday, 11am to 4pm

Free

Daily Myths

Craigmillar Now, 58 Newcraighall Road, Edinburgh, EH15 3HS

August 16 - September 28

Mondays and Tuesdays, 10am to 4pm

Free

Events:

Lisa Williams | Seeing Beyond The Stones

Institut français d'Ecosse, West Parliament Square, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF

Saturday August 28, 10:30am

£10 / £5 , book in advance (required) here

Thursday Night Goes Pop!

Dovecot Studios,10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT

Every Thursday in August, 6pm

£12.50

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