Extinction Rebellion, Queerness and Brexit: Visual Arts at Summerhall this Fringe

From the climate crisis to queer inclusivity to Brexit khaos, Summerhall’s Visual Arts programme is responding to a world in flux. Following on from the success of Pussy Riot’s 2018 Fringe residency, Summerhall will open its doors to rebel-activists Extinction Rebellion, Scottish artists Jane Frere and Alan Smith who explore contemporary politics and social issues with murals and digital tools, and pastel drawings that ask what queerness means in 2019, plus more. 

Always the optimists, at Summerhall, we believe that change comes through works of art that are active, imaginative and responsive. Come, bear witness and be the change. 


Extinction Rebellion (XR), 25 July-25 August, Lower Galleries 1&2

Summerhall will play host to climate activists, Extinction Rebellion (XR) this Fringe. From months of nonviolent civil disobedience, the movement has made climate change the focus of headlines and governments around the world. 

Now, XR offers visitors the opportunity to engage with the movement’s three demands – to tell the truth about climate change and the ecological emergency, to call on governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and to create a Citizens Assembly to oversee the process – through creative imagination. The exhibition will feature immersive installations, works of art made in response to the climate crisis, sculpture, film and performance art from the likes of Oceanallover and Monster Chetwynd.

The New York Times: Carbon’s Casualties, 25 July-27 October, Corner Gallery

For the last three years, Pulitzer Prize winning, New York Times photographer, Josh Haner has been travelling the globe documenting the irreversible impact of climate change. From landscapes shrinking to waterways expanding, with dramatic drone footage Carbon’s Casualties captures how the world is being reshaped and nature’s heritage lost. 

The New World Retrospective, 25 July-27 October, Sciennes Gallery

After Alan Smith’s 50th birthday, the Scottish artist stepped away from the public eye. Twenty-three years later, Smith returned with a new body of work, The New World, inspired by Tiepolo’s Il Mondo Nuovo, a fresco painted near the end of the Venetian empire. Last summer, Smith was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in May 2019 making The New World his final work.

“As I worked on this during 2016, I did feel a strong sense that Tiepolo’s Il Mondo Nuovo held a remarkably similar dilemma to the one we now face in our own Brexit Britain” Smith said about his art. Depicting through digital images a journey into what comes “next,” in this exhibition, a new world is just around the corner. 

New Sodom Will be a Shining City on a Hill, 25 July-27 October, Meadows Gallery

A lot has changed for the LGBTQ+ community over the last few decades, from rampant socially acceptable homophobia to milestones for (some) LGBTQ+ rights to words like gender fluidity and non-binary findng their way into the mainstream. In Andrew Sim’s first solo exhibition, this period of transition is explored through pastel drawings and asks how the queer community can move forward with radical self-acceptance while still bearing the scars of its past.

Exit – 100 Days of Khaos!, 25 July-27 October, War Memorial Gallery

As we hurtle (with whiplash-inducing delays) towards leaving the EU, artist Jane Frere has been documenting her personal response to Brexit in pastel murals and animation. Now that her initial 100 day countdown to 29 March 2019 has finished and we’re still none the wiser to when, how or what we’re exiting, Frere will be exhibiting what she created from directionless uncertainty. Come join the Khaos. 

Joseph Beuys / Leonardo Da Vinci, 25 July-27 October, Laboratory Gallery

To mark 500 years since Leonardo Da Vinci’s death, Summerhall’s owner Robert McDowell has curated an installation of art, prints, photographs and objects of and about his former collaborator and mentor, Joseph Bueys, relating to the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. Men of science and art, Da Vinci and Beuys used creativity to push for social change.


For more information on Visual Arts at Summerhall, you can click here.