Riding on the high and exhilaration of the Commonwealth Games, the Edinburgh Art Festival presents a novel exhibition centered on the concept of "common wealth." Titled "Where do I end and you begin?," a total of 20 artists from far-flung nations formerly associated with the British Empire -- from New Zealand to Pakistan, from Canada to South Africa -- explore the tenets of common good, public ownership and alternative-exchange markets. Over four floors of the City Arts Centre play host to the exhibit until October 19. Locations throughout Edinburgh also have artworks until August 31 as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.
The installation from Indian artist Shilpa Gupta begs the question with the title of the exhibition presented in neon and words joined together with no spacing. A concoction of several meanings meshed together with no distinct boundaries. South African artist Kay Hassan recreates "My Father's Music Room, " which looks like a replica of an English lounge including high-backed settees. Subtle touches give clues to the native African locale.
Another fantastic element of the Edinburgh Art Festival is the Festival Detours Program. It's a series of intimate performances by leading poets, musicians and actors at Edinburgh galleries. Luke Wright and Mersault are just a couple of the performers in the series. Stumbling upon Eilidh MacAskill's event at the City Arts Centre, she invited children and adults alike to dress up as birds who couldn't make it to the Commonwealth Games. Called the "Conference Call of the Birds," audience members and bystanders like my children were instantly mesmerized by the artist. MacAskill is also the founder of Fish and Game, an experimental performance arts group straddling visual art and live theater.
This year's Edinburgh Art Festival challenges the notions of commonwealth in light of the recent international 11-day sporting competition and the upcoming Scottish Independence vote in September. The brilliance of this year's programming illustrates how art intersects with politics, and even sport!