Edinburgh Art Festival 2023 – Top Picks

From debut solo shows to public artworks, this year's Art Festival presents a range of emerging and international talent

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Sekai Machache and Dovecot Studios, Lively Blue
Photo by Phil Wilkinson
Published 08 Aug 2023

Alberta Whittle: create dangerously
National Galleries of Scotland: Modern One, until 7 Jan 2024, times vary

An immersive exhibition which is the largest showing of Whittle’s work to date, addressing colonialism, the transatlantic trade in enslaved people, and the climate crisis. Whittle will also present a newly-commissioned performance The Last Born – making room for ancestral transmissions on 13 August, 7pm at Parliament Hall.

Lindsey Mendick: SH*TFACED
Jupiter Artland, until 1 Oct, times vary

Lindsey Mendick’s first solo show in Scotland draws inspiration from the duality in Stevenson’s gothic novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Through crafted ceramics vases, sculptures and stained glass, Mendick subverts everyday scenes to explore binge-drinking culture and self-regret.

Platform 2023
Trinity Apse, 11-27 Aug, times vary

The festival's annual showcase of early career visual artists, now in its ninth year. This year’s artists selected from an open call are Aqsa Arif, Crystal Bennes, Rudy Kanhye, and Richard Maguire, who are presenting works spanning race, climate change, food justice, cultural identity and more. 

Rabiya Choudhry: Give light and people will find the way (Ella Baker)
Leith Library, until 27 Aug

An illuminated artwork based on a painting by Choudhry, part of the artist’s ongoing project Lost Lighting – a series of lighting artworks for public places intended to ‘act like a vigil in the dark’. The torch motif in the work features the words of African-American civil rights activist Ella Baker, who fought for societal change for ordinary people.

Scottish Women Artists: 250 Years of Challenging Perception
Dovecot Studios, until 6 Jan 2024, times vary

An exhibition spotlighting 45 diverse women artists, showcasing a unique history of Scottish art via 70 paintings, tapestries, textiles, sculptures and photographs. Featured artists include Catherine Read, Sekai Machache, Phoebe Anna Traquair, Bessie MacNicol, Joan Eardley, Elizabeth Blackadder, Rachel Maclean and Alison Watt.

Tarek Lakhrissi: I wear my wounds on my tongue (II)
Collective, until 1 Oct, times vary

A new exhibition by the French artist and poet exploring desire, language and queerness. Lakhrissi takes inspiration from the work of the late poet, essayist and performance artist Justin Chin, with the installation featuring newly commissioned sculpture and sound pieces.