Matjaz Vidmar

Jan 272023

Salt panning was a very important industry in the early history of Prestonpans. By the beginning of the fifteenth century there were 10 salt works belonging to the town capable of producing between 800 and 900 bushels of salt per week. However, Prestonpans was not a one-industry town, and many other industries flourished in Prestonpans and contributed towards the town’s growth. The discovery and mining of coal by the Newbattle monks in the early thirteenth century was arguably the first instance of coal mining in Britain. The mining of coal in Prestonpans began in the year 1210, and continued for centuries.

Prestonpans at one point, had sixteen breweries, all of which have closed. The oldest brewery in Prestonpans belonged to the Fowler family and was built in 1720. The Fowlers obtained it in 1756 and it was in production until the 1960s. The building was demolished in 1989 to build flats. There was a soap works in the town which at one time had an output of 90,000 pounds (41,000 kg) per annum, and also several potteries and brickworks.

The town was served, for several hundred years, by the harbour at nearby Prestongrange, known as Morrison’s Haven or “Acheson’s Haven”. Fishing boats sailed from the harbour and herring was the most important catch. The harvesting of oysters was a lucrative industry up to the early twentieth century.

Nov 232020

Tolbooth, Cannongate, Edinburgh

View of Royal Mile and Tolbooth

The stretch of the Royal Mile running from Castle Hill to Blackfriars Street is the oldest part of Edinburgh. Chartered as a royal burgh in the 12th century, the medieval town core saw an immense population boom, growing from an estimated 2,000 inhabitants in the 12th century, to 15-20,000 in the 15th, and upwards of 50,000 by the 17th century. The problems caused by severe overcrowding within the medieval town walls intensified as the city expanded north in the second half of the 18th century. As the well-to-do moved out into the elegant Georgian buildings of New Town, the living conditions of the poor who remained in Old Town rapidly deteriorated. By the 19th century, the district had arguably turned into the worst slum in Britain. This tour will offer a glimpse into the public health issues that arose from overcrowding, poverty, and civic negligence, and review some of the innovative measures developed in the 19th century by city administrators, public health officials, social reformers, and philanthropists to remedy them. 

Bird`s eye view of Edinburgh in 1647 by James Gordon of Rothiemay (The National Library of Scotland
Plan of New Town from A Collection of Plans of the Capital Cities of Europe by John Andrews 1771 (The National Library of Scotland The plan shows the contrast between the winding narrow passages of Old Town, and the wide, airy Georgian boulevards under construction in New Town.
Oct 212020

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SR

Tayo Adekunle is a British Nigerian photographer based in Edinburgh. Working a lot with selfportraiture, she uses her work to explore issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality as well as racial and colonial history.

Her work is centred around reworkings of historical tropes relating to the black female body, taking from contexts that include art historical paintings and sculptures as well as 19th-century colonial photography. By placing historical imagery in a contemporary context, the relationship between the treatment of the black female body in the past and its treatment in the present day is explored.

Oct 212020

The Writers’ Museum, Lawnmarket, Lady Stair’s Cl, Edinburgh EH1 2PA

Kokumo was raised in Cowdenbeath. She describes herself as an African/Asian /Scottish writer and performance poet and has performed in the UK, USA, India and Africa. Her collections Bad Ass Raindrop (2002), Stolen From Africa (2007), and Happily Drowning (2019) were published by Luath Press.

This exhibit showcases two poems written by Kokomo Fadeke Rocks titled ‘Stolen From Africa’ and ‘See You, See Me’.

Kokumo Fadeke Rocks

Oct 212020

Museum of Childhood, 42 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1TG

With a West African heritage, fine artist and illustrator Beatrice Ajayi was born in Scotland. Having both cultures laced through her upbringing gave her a perspective that is creative, refreshing and unique. There is a freedom of expression that entwines an endless supply of narrative. As a child, she spent most of her time drawing writing stories, dancing and singing her own songs. After completing an Art Foundation course at Croydon College in Surrey, she went on to do a BA (Hons) Degree at Nottingham Trent University.

Beatrice’s work has been described as both “engaging and daring”, and been exhibited in galleries across the UK. Since her early teens, she has continued to develop her unique style as a fine artist and illustrator.
This new piece, in a style she describes as African Anime, was specially designed for the Mural Trail and is inspired by her experience of growing up as a Black Scottish child.

Beatrice Ajayi

Oct 212020

The Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL

Ayo Adedeji was born In Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the UK at one year old. A self-taught artist, based in Edinburgh. Ayo creates his images using traditional graphite pencils, charcoal and transfers these images onto various digital platforms.

Ayo Adedeji

Oct 212020

Museum of Edinburgh, 142-146 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD

A newly commissioned poem written by Edinburgh based poet Jeda Pearl Lewis, titled ‘Beloved Black’ the text begins

Black is the absorption of all visible light
You are life
You are the scattered dust of stars, full-spectrum,
generating the cosmos throughout spacetime
You are a gift

Jeda Pearl is a Scottish-Jamaican writer & poet and a Programme Manager for the Scottish BAME Writers Network. In 2019, she was awarded Cove Park’s Emerging Writer Residency and shortlisted for the Bridge Awards. Her writing is published by TSS Publishing, Momaya Press, Tapsalteerie
and Shoreline of Infinity.

Jeda Pearl Lewis

Find out more

Oct 212020

The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE

This series of photographs was taken by photographer Jamal Yussuff-Adelakun, a British born Nigerian now based in Edinburgh. His daughter Lola was the model and he says:

I always promised myself that when I had children, I would speak to them about their culture and heritage (including other cultures) and the reality of life, from birth; the things I know they won’t be taught in school. The day the news about George Floyd broke, I spoke to my daughter briefly about it. She understood the importance of what I just told her and we felt compelled to create our own response.

The results are what you see, and much of the concept came from her, focusing on the poignancy of “I can’t breathe”.

Jamal and Lola Yussuff-Adelakun

Oct 212020

Edinburgh Playhouse, 18-22 Greenside Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3AA

Tony Brown Kalisa is an 18-year-old self-taught graphic artist, born in Uganda he has called Edinburgh his home for 4 years. His style utilities a variety of images and techniques to build a design made up of many layers. Tony’s creative practice is continually inspired by his mother who raised him as a single parent with African values in a western context.

His artwork was inspired by the various protest that happened across the world in response to the killing of George Floyd and in support of Black Lives Matter and the fact that this show of solidarity was lead by young people of all races.

Tony Kalisa with his mum.

Oct 212020

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

Adebusola Ramsay, born in Lagos, Nigeria, lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. She is an abstract artist, whose practice has developed over the last 20 years. Her art takes form in painting and printmaking, working mostly with acrylics and features evocative colour contrast and textural detail. She explores different forms of mark-making to create new perspectives in irregular line and colour patterns.

Obfuscation was painted reflecting on how we are conditioned into certain ways of thinking and how our current oppressive modes of social ordering came to be and are maintained.