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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

The "Brexiles" exhibition is coming to Edinburgh!

Updated: May 1

I'm excited to announce that my "Brexiles" exhibition - portraits of 27 Brits who left the UK because of Brexit - is going on tour! It will be on display at Summer Hall in Edinburgh on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May as part of 'Talking Europe - A Festival of Europe' event by Euromove Scotland.



The first edition of this exhibition took place in my home city of Sheffield at the Circle gallery in September last year. I have been in discussion with a few grassroots pro-EU groups since then about co-organising the exhibition going “on tour” across the UK. Edinburgh for Europe initially proposed organising an exhibition and event as part of the Fringe Festival, but another more fitting opportunity came sooner – and the venue is incredible.

 

Ahead of the EU elections, Euromove Scotland and the New Europeans UK organisation (with whom I have a long-standing relationship) decided to organise a voter mobilisation vote for EU citizens in Scotland. The two-day event will include panel discussions with an impressive range of speakers:



However, as Summer Hall is a ‘a vibrant cultural village in the heart of Edinburgh’ – they were keen to include artistic elements in the programme and invited me to bring my Brexiles paintings. The galleries of the Demarco European Foundation Exhibition at Summerhall will also be open to visit during the Talking Europe weekend. As this event has already been funded and will have a pre-existing audience (meaning less promotion / fundraising / organisational responsibility required from my end) it seemed like a win-win situation. All I have to do is get the box of paintings to Edinburgh. The exhibition being displayed for two days is also convenient as it means I can install and take-down in a single trip, as it is neither cheap nor quick to travel to Scotland. They've invited me to present the exhibition at the beginning of the first day and I plan to read out some of the quotes from the interviews with participants as well as the "Brexiles" poem I wrote. They also want me to perform a few songs at the drinks reception on Saturday night before we head to a pub to watch the Eurovision Song Contest - which seems rather apt. In addition to my artwork, the galleries of the Demarco European Foundation Exhibition at Summerhall will be opening and Richard Demarco will be giving a speech on the Saturday - I'm really excited to meet him.


When I met with two of the organisers to discuss the plans and logistics, they were extremely gracious about my contribution to the event and repeatedly thanked me for coming and "bringing the festival" to the event (which is otherwise a lot of talking heads). It was very sweet, but made me feel somewhat embarassed - I feel like I am getting more out of this event than they are... We realised there is a slight logistical problem, in that the last "direct" train from Ediburgh to Sheffield is at 6pm (the time the event ends) - meaning I would have to dismantle the exhibition during the lunchbreak of the second day, so that I could leave early to catch that train. I could take a later train but it would involve changing at Doncaster which would be difficult with the huge box of paintings, my guitar and whatever luggage I need to take - but maybe it's worth the hassle? I could also stay an extra night, and return home on Monday morning, but given that I am travelling to Romania on Wednesday - I am reluctant to do that - it will also mean I have to ask a neighbour to come and feed the cats as their food timer only lasts 48 hours. It seems there is no easy solution here... It's at times like this where I think maybe I should drive, even though I really hate cars.


I’m looking forward to the event (I love going to Edinburgh as the events I have been to have always been so friendly and joyful) and I’m hoping to take my ‘Wangland’ flag – which I expect will be a massive hit with the Scots – and film some responses to the provocative work.

 

I am also hoping to take the exhibition to other locations, but this is still being discussed. Most likely it will be going to Liverpool after Edinburgh, one of my friends who lives there seems to be co-organising a million different cultural events in May, June and July and we are currently trying to nail down which event / venue / dates will work for me (anything prior to the EU elections seems impossible). I’m also in exploratory discussions with a couple of other locations, including the possibility of prints of the artworks being displayed in Munich.

 

In the meantime, I launched a crowdfunder to help cover the associated costs – like the train travel or venue hire. So far, it’s done pretty well, so I am hopeful that we can take the exhibition to a couple more destinations after Edinburgh.

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