Abbeyhill colonies drawn out as city's answer to South Bank

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PARIS has its famous Left Bank and London its South Bank, but Edinburgh has never really established its own artists' quarter.

Now an unassuming set of seven streets on the edge of the city centre is laying claim to the unofficial title, with 20 artists all living and working in the area.

The Abbeyhill colonies, off London Road, is celebrating the fact by staging an exhibition of their talented residents' work – in their own homes.

People can pop into any of 15 houses to look at an eclectic displays of paintings, sculptures and photographs. It is also intended to give people an insight into the lives of the artists.

Abbeyhill Primary School and Stepping Stones, an art project for people with mental health problems, are also joining in on 5 and 6 September. There will also be a tea tent in one of the gardens, raising funds for Oxfam.

The group of artists have already held three similar exhibitions, but say this will be their biggest yet.

William Mazur, a painter and one of the organisers, said they had been inspired by a similar exhibition in Pittenweem, Fife.

They began by inviting friends and neighbours into their homes, but decided to open them to the general public.

He said: "There's a core of six or seven of us who are doing this, but we have newcomers coming in.

"This is an area with a significant number of artists so it seemed to be a good idea. People usually use their hall and front room. If it's paintings or photography they put them on the walls, and other things on tables."

The artworks include paintings in oils, watercolour and acrylics, photographs, glass sculptures, jewellery and swords, with most of the work for sale.

They include stunning landscape photographs by Keith Brame, who is currently travelling round Scotland visiting wild land owned by the John Muir Trust. Leah Bastiani, an adult education teacher, will be displaying her range of silver jewellery.

Paul Macdonald, a swordmaker, will be hosting one of the more unusual galleries. He creates decorative swords and weapons.

He said: "I thought it was a unique idea. I can show a bit of the working process from raw material to finished product."

The exhibition is open from 1pm to 5pm 5 and 6 September. Visit