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The 16-day Edinburgh Art Festival 2023 kicks off with exhibitions and events across the Scottish capital


Edinburgh Art Festival 2023 (EAF) kicked off last Friday (Aug 11) in the Scottish capital. As one of the largest art festivals in the world, EAF will span 16 days, featuring 68 official events and exhibitions in 40 venues across the city.


This year marks the 19th edition of EAF, which came after the appointment of its new director, Kim McAleese, last year.


“Our 19th festival in 2023 will be the start of a new approach to working with artists, audiences, partners and people and is a chance to explore new places in the city if you have lived here for a long or short time, or see them through the lens of visual art if you are visiting for the summer season,” McAleese said in an interview with a Scotland local newspaper.


Check out the highlight exhibitions and events here:


1. “Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022”


The prize celebrates the best in contemporary photography, attracting over 4,000 entries from 62 countries. The images selected for the exhibition share their ability to emotionally impact visitors. This year’s prize-winning photographs examine a range of subjects – from queerness and chosen family to daily lockdown life and identity in former Soviet states. The exhibition showcases 51 portraits from 36 artists, including famous faces such as Marcus Rashford and Finn Wolfhard.


Opens now until Sep 10 (Daily; 10am – 5pm)

National Galleries of Scotland: Portrait

1 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JD,

Scotland, UK

2. “Lindsey Mendick: SH*TFACED”


Mendick’s work is one of confession, where uncomfortable truths are revealed with candor and humor. Characterized by their hyperreal appearance and intense attention to detail, everyday scenes are crafted in ceramic as larger-than-life tableaux. Mendick creates a diptych of nightlife; one that draws inspiration from the gothic novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Like an anxious dream come to life, there is a sobering mirroring of contemporary binge drinking culture and gender-based shaming presented in the work.



Opens now until Oct 1 (Wed - Sun; 10AM - 5PM)

Jupiter Artland

Bonnington House Steadings, Edinburgh, EH27 8BY 

Scotland, UK

3) “Decades: The Art of Change 1900–1980”


This free exhibition is a journey through 80 years of art from 1900 to the 1970s. Spanning a period of dramatic change, each work is drawn from the gallery’s collection of modern art. Decades: The Art of Change 1900–1980 guides you through six chapters across six rooms at Modern Two. Each chapter speaks of a moment when artists rebelled against the previous generation, creating works that came to characterize a period.



Opens now until Jan 7 (Daily; 10am - 5pm)

National Galleries of Scotland: Modern Two

73 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DS, 

Scotland, UK

4. “Scottish Women Artists: 250 Years of Challenging Perception”


Through more than 70 paintings, tapestries, textiles, sculptures and photographs, this exhibition offers a fresh history of Scottish art, shining a light on 45 diverse women artists – from engravings by Scotland’s first professionally trained woman artist Catherine Read to a specially commissioned tapestry from contemporary practitioner Sekai Machache – alongside artists including Phoebe Anna Traquair, Bessie MacNicol, Joan Eardley, Elizabeth Blackadder, Rachel Maclean, and Alison Watt.



Opens now until Jan 6 (Daily during Aug; 10am - 5pm)

Dovecot Studios

10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT, 

Scotland, UK


1. “Making and Deepfaking the News Workshop”


How can we tell fact from fiction in a world of deep-fakes? How does a profession like journalism – based on truth, verification, and trust – deal with AI-enabled deception and disruption? In the interactive workshop, you’ll debate emerging ethical dilemmas in the newsroom, learn about tools and techniques for synthetic media detection, and contribute your vision for the future of news.



Aug 15 (2PM - 4PM)


The University of Edinburgh 1 Crichton Street EH8 9AB, 

Scotland, UK



JUPITER RISING joins forces with EAF to throw one of the biggest one-night-only parties in Edinburgh curated by artist Lindsey Mendick and collective Bonjour, a queer workers’ coop based in Glasgow.



Aug 19 (6pm - 1am)

Jupiter Artland

Bonnington House Steadings, Edinburgh, EH27 8BY, 

Scotland, UK

3. “Dorothy Towers – Public Programme: Lothian Health Services Archive”


Drawing on original material from the Lothian Health Services Archive and Lothian Gay and Lesbian Switchboard Archive – both collections held at the University of Edinburgh Library – this event will examine archives’ role in preserving historically significant material. 


Sean Burns will host a discussion with archivists Dr. Louise Williams and Louise Neilson exploring material from both archives, providing an opportunity to hear how the resources operate through original material relating to HIV/AIDS awareness/activism and queer communities in Edinburgh.



Aug 24 (2pm - 3:30pm)

French Institute

West Parliament Sq, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF, 

Scotland, UK

4. “Press: American-style Block Party” 


Join Edinburgh Printmakers to celebrate Christian Noelle Charles’ solo exhibition, WHAT A FEELING! | ACT I, with a summer block party in their courtyard and garden!



Aug 25 (6PM until late)

Edinburgh Printmakers

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

Scotland, UK