National Galleries to showcase portraits of Scotland’s Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Polish communities

Portraits of people from Scotland’s Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Polish communities are to go on display alongside images of Robert Burns, Walter Scott, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Billy Connolly, Emeli Sandé and Tilda Swinton.

The National Galleries of Scotland has unveiled plans for a major show exploring the diverse communities and individuals who make up modern-day Scotland to coincide with the latest census.

Due to open in Edinburgh in the spring, it will feature selections from a series of portraits by photographer Arpita Shah of women who practice the tradition of head covering or veiling.

Refugees living in Glasgow and families living on the Isle of Eigg are also expected to feature in the six-month exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, where some of the country’s leading cultural figures are celebrated.

The exhibition will feature portraits of women from the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities living in Scotland, who practice the tradition of head covering or veiling.

The National Galleries said its show Counted: Scotland’s Census 2022, which will run from March to September, is intended to “consider the varied make-up of past and present Scottish society”.

Its announcement on the exhibition states: “It will consider the complexities around the notion of identity, taking into account ethnicity, sexuality, occupation and health.


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“Works on show will range from portraits of individuals, single-parent families, Pakistani and Polish communities, refugees living in Glasgow and people living in Eigg, the first Scottish island to become owned by the local community through a buyout.

"Several new acquisitions from thought-provoking projects by contemporary photographers working in Scotland such as Arpita Shah, Danny North and Kieran Dodds will be presented alongside arresting 19th-century works by Thomas Annan and Hill and Adamson, offering comparisons between the experiences of past and present generations of Scots.”

The exhibition will feature portraits of women from the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities living in Scotland who practice the tradition of head covering or veiling.

Meanwhile the National Galleries has revealed it will be showcasing work by Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh in a major summer exhibition focusing on Scotland's 19th-century ‘avant-garde’ art collectors.

A Taste for Impressionism, which will be staged at the Royal Scottish Academy building, will recall how they were able to acquire “edgy works” from the artists at a time when they were being “pilloried by the press and the prices for their paintings were surprisingly low”.

Other shows in the National Galleries’ 2022 line-up include a celebration of the British sculptor and avant-garde artist Barbara Hepworth at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.


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The biggest-ever exhibition of her work in Scotland will feature the modern abstract carvings that launched her career in the 1920s and 1930s, her iconic strung sculptures of the 1940s and 1950s, and later large-scale bronze and carved sculptures.

Amar Latif (standing in white shirt) with his family in Glasgow earlier this year. Picture: Verena Jaekel

Comprising more than 120 works, the show, which opens in April, will include rarely-seen drawings and paintings on loan from public and private collections.

You Are Here, at the portrait gallery, will showcase work created in recent National Galleries projects across the country, including in former mining towns.

Sir John Leighton, director general of the National Galleries, said: “These highlights from our 2022 programme offer tantalising moments of discovery for everyone.

"Whether that means getting close to some of the greatest Impressionist paintings in the world, or enjoying the work of Barbara Hepworth, one of the most important British artists of the 20th century, there is so much to look forward to.


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Photographer Margaret Mitchell's portrait of 'Andrea and her three children, Steven, Kellie and Chick' will be part of the exhibition Counted. Picture: Margaret Mitchell

“As the country prepares to take part in the first census for ten years, it feels apt to be focusing on Scotland's diverse communities.”

Photographer Danny North's images captured on the Isle of Eigg, the first Scottish island to have a community buy-out, will featue in the exhibition Counted.

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