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Edinburgh Art Festival 2019

Our sixteenth edition brought together the work of over 300 artists, presented in 50 exhibitions across more than 35 venues throughout the city. Curated by Edinburgh’s leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces, featuring major historic surveys alongside leading Scottish, UK and international contemporary artists and 10 projects from across Scotland selected for our Pop Up Exhibitions and Events feature, alongside over 140 events throughout the month.

Commissions Programme

Stories for an Uncertain World

Each year, our Commissions Programme supports Scottish and international artists to develop ambitious new projects as part of the Festival. Our focus is on bringing artists into conversation with the city, taking work out of formal gallery settings and into public spaces, often offering rare public access to key buildings or sites, and always engaging local residents and international visitors alike in citywide debates around wider social issues.

In 2019, as we continued to witness major geo-political and societal shifts, our Commissions Programme brought together 5 artists with new projects which reflected the uncertain times we found ourselves in, poised between the disintegration of an old world order, and taking the initial faltering steps towards an unknown future.

Encompassing a wide range of media, from light installation through to performance and film, the projects were united by a shared interest in narrative and storytelling as one of the fundamental ways in which we make sense of the world and imagine possible new futures.

Drawing on historical as well as futuristic narratives as a means to reflect on our current condition, the projects also explored ideas of resilience, and how collectively we process difficulties and face the future.

Our Commissions Programme is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund, EventScotland and the PLACE Programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals, supported and administered by Creative Scotland.


Participating Artists:

Nathan Coley, The Future is Inside Us, It’s not Somewhere Else 

Alfredo Jaar, I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On 

Rosalind Nashashibi 

Sriwhana Spong, castle-crystal 

Corin Sworn, Habits of Assembly 

Platform: 2019

Platform is a dedicated showcase for artists based in Scotland who are at the beginning of their careers. 

Platform: 2019, selected by artists Monster Chetwynd and Toby Paterson, brought together new work by:


Anna Danielewicz

Joanne Dawson

Harry Maberly

Suds McKenna


The resulting exhibition offered audiences an opportunity to experience the breadth and vitality of emerging contemporary art practice
in Scotland.

Supported by the PLACE Programme, a partnership between Edinburgh Festivals, Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland.
With additional support from Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. Mentoring programme supported by the Saltire Inspiring Scotland Programme. 

Partner Exhibitions

All That the Rain Promises and More... at Arusha Gallery

Victoria Crowe: 50 Years of Painting at City Art Centre 

If play is neither inside nor outside, where is it? and Migratory Motor Complex at Collective

Grayson Perry: Julie Cope’s Grand Tour at Dovecot Studios 

Summer at ECA: ECA Festival Exhibition, Double Disaster (Closing Down), Sonikebana, Fully Awake 4.6 and Grey to Blue: Ecological Entanglements at Edinburgh College of Art

A Machine for Making Authenticity and Hanna Tuulikki: Deer Dancer at Edinburgh Printmakers 

Caroline Achaintre: Encounter L., Lucy Wayman: Clovehitch and Adam Benmakhlouf: The Noise of Making Spills Over at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

Intimate: a portrait and Nicole Farhi: Writing Heads at The Fine Art Society 

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Night Walk for Edinburgh from The Fruitmarket Gallery

My Own Private Bauhaus at Ingleby

Joana Vasconcelos: Gateway and Trisha Brown: Time, Space, Gravity at Jupiter Artland

Bridget Riley, Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage, NOW: Anya Gallaccio, Charles Avery, Aurélien Froment, Roger Hiorns, Peles Empire, Zineb Sedira, The Long Look: The Making of a Portrait and ARTIST ROOMS Self Evidence: Photographs by Woodman, Arbus and Mapplethorpe from National Galleries of Scotland

Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland at National Museum of Scotland

John Busby: Silent Landscape and John Busby Remembered at Open Eye Gallery

Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs at The Queen's Gallery

Ever After and Kiln Gods at The Scottish Gallery

Cindy Sherman: Early Works, 1975—80 at Stills: Centre for Photography 

Samson Young: Real Music at Talbot Rice Gallery

Pop Up Exhibitions and Events

Restoring the Space at The Parish Church of St Cuthbert

Alec Finlay: Day of Access at Travelling Gallery 

Quality Sleep,Harmony Life! Vol. 1 publication

UNKENNY from place+platform

Movement of Freedom from Deveron Projects and Many Studios 

An Observation from Amanda Baron 

Sixth from PYRUS

Vanishing Point: Where Species Meet from Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson 


Festival Guide:                       Festival Map & Events Leaflet:



Stories for an Uncertain World – Commissions Programme Booklet:

Platform: 2019 Booklet and Essay by Chris Sharratt: