Gallery scheme supports fresh creative talent

Five artists are taking up residencies as part of a Talbot Rice Gallery programme to nurture a new wave of artistic talent. 

Scotland-based artists Alaya Ang, Crystal Bennes, Maria de Lima, Thulani Rachia, and Kirsty Russell are joining the University’s contemporary art gallery as part of a two-year national scheme.

5 people stand looking to camera in front of an old building
Kirsty Russell, Thulani Rachia, Alaya Ang, Crystal Bennes, Maria de Lima

The Gallery is partnering with Edinburgh College of Art to welcome the group as part of the Freelands Artist Programme, which supports artists in the early stages of their career.

Artistic prowess

Alaya Ang’s practice uses performance, sound and writing to centre ideas of anti-racism, feminism and ecology. After graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 2016 the artist’s interest in gardens and decolonisation has led to exhibitions, collaborative projects, and ongoing research.

Crystal Bennes’s practice explores traditional female roles and representation in science, and gendered representations in nature. Recent work includes a photographic exploration of an artificial island in Sweden created entirely out of radioactive waste and a series of hand-woven wall hangings inspired by computer data from CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Maria de Lima uses film, installation and painting to create vibrant colour-driven works examining language and identity. Maria’s work often incorporates representations of her own experiences of migration and explores the history of colonial imposition on language.

Thulani Rachia’s creative practice integrates architecture, design, performing and visual arts. Informed by his upbringing in Johannesburg South Africa, Thulani contemplates how the built environment and society shape each other, and how this relationship is constructed by history.

Kirsty Russell’s textile and sculptural works explore how ideas of support and care can manifest in objects and materials. Often referencing her own family members who work in positions of care, Russell looks to the unseen structures that underpin and maintain.

Residents Programme

Talbot Rice Residents provides time and support for early-career artists based in Scotland within the unique context of Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. The artists will be given financial, curatorial and technical support. Facilities at Edinburgh College of Art – such as workshops, studios, libraries and collections – will also be made available.

Freelands Artist Programme

Freelands Artist Programme is a landmark initiative to support emerging artists across the UK launched in 2018 by Freelands Foundation. The programme nurtures emerging artists’ practices by fostering long-term relationships and collaborations with arts organisations and bolstering regional arts ecosystems.

In its first five-year phase, 80 artists have undertaken the programme across four partner organisations - g39, Cardiff, PS2, Belfast, Site Gallery, Sheffield and Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh. The programme offers studio space, career development workshops, talks, mentoring, an annual symposium, exhibition opportunities and an end-of-programme publication.

We are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to talented artists at critical stages in their careers. The Talbot Rice Residents are characterised by exploration, experimentation and risk-taking. It is brilliant to welcome in this new group of Scotland’s next generation of artists, who bring different perspectives and conversations to everything we do at Talbot Rice Gallery. We are all looking forward to welcoming this year’s cohort and supporting the development of their practices.

Tessa GiblinDirector of Talbot Rice Gallery

We are delighted to be hosting the Talbot Rice Gallery residents at ECA and facilitating studios as well as access to technical resources and, perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to enrich our community. The Freelands Artist Programme is a truly visionary scheme and we very much look forward to working with the new residents.

Professor Juan CruzPrincipal, Edinburgh College of Art

Talbot Rice Gallery  

Freelands Foundation 

Photo credit - Neil Hanna Photography