Summerhall, Edinburgh, January 25th-March 10th
If Robert Burns was an early sighting of a working class auto-didact, it befits a multi-media arts festival to reimagine Burns’ questing poetic spirit for the twenty-first century. This is the aim of the Summerhall-hosted Burns Unbroke festival, which over its six-week duration will feature an array of music, performance and visual art inspired by the bard.
The visual art strand includes work by more than thirty artists spread out over eleven gallery spaces. This includes pieces by Graham Fagen, Bridget Collins, Douglas Gordon and the Chapman Brothers, as well as former Frankie Goes to Hollywood vocalist, Holly Johnson. Four new commissions will also feature; a mural by Ciara Veronica Dunne, a film-based installation by Ross Fleming, a mixed media piece by Derrick Guild, and a map by Robert Powell that pinpoints all the places in Edinburgh relevant to Burns.
Presented in a collaboration between Summerhall and the Artruist organisation, the title of the festival is drawn from the epigraph printed at the front of Burns’ first poetry collection, published in 1786, and which spoke of ‘The Simple Bard, unbroke by rules of art.’ As the assorted rule-breakers of Burns Unbroke should show, Burns’ spirit is very much alive.
The List, January 2018