Alberta Whittle exhibition opens in Edinburgh
A “hugely important” exhibition exploring themes such as the legacy of systemic racism has opened at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
Alberta Whittle: create dangerously is the largest exploration of the artist’s work to date and offers a survey of her work, featuring sculptures and installations, digital collages, drawings and watercolours, and new pieces made especially for the show.
The exhibition also features two works which were at the heart of the Barbadian-Scottish artist’s critically-acclaimed show at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, where she represented Scotland.
Speaking earlier this week, Whittle said the free exhibition, which opened on Saturday at the gallery in Edinburgh, has a “hopeful message”.
She told the PA news agency: “I was given the invitation as we found out about Venice and I really wanted this exhibition to bring the work back to Scotland, but also to introduce themes of care and compassion and hope for the audiences.
“Because I really think that whilst we embark on doing this work of abolition, anti-racist work, it’s so important that actually we really sit in community together so that we can find new ways of listening better, of understanding the harm that is caused, but also of really trying to think how we can create strategies of restructuring.
“And also about how we can galvanise change, and it’s really my opinion that this work really begins at home in conversations with other groups that you’re close to, with communities.”
The artist, who studied at Edinburgh College of Art and now lives in Glasgow, said it feels “really special” to have the work on show at the gallery, and that having the work from Venice return here feels like a “homecoming”.
Two of the works shown in Venice – the tapestry Entanglement Is More Than Blood and the film Lagareh – The Last Born – have been acquired for the nation by National Galleries of Scotland (NGS).
Lucy Askew, chief curator of modern and contemporary art at NGS, said: “This hugely important exhibition, devoted to the work of one of the leading artists working in Scotland today, is underpinned by Alberta’s deep generosity and warmth.
“Alberta speaks of fundamental truths about the violence and injustices of our past – ‘the burden of proof’ – and the legacy of systemic racism which permeates through our society today, asking us to confront this with her.
“With compassion and care, she holds and guides us, encouraging us to pause, to breathe, and to think differently.”
The exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), runs from April 1 until January 7 next year.