Art in Shops

A series of small exhibitions across eleven sites involving Portobello’s local shops, cafes and businesses, is included in this year’s programme with many artists responding to Art Walk Porty’s VESSEL theme.

We are delighted to be able to involve these artists, working with local organisations, to bring together this range of exhibitions. Artists local to Portobello as well as further afield are part of the programme in local shops this year. Please visit the individual artist pages to find out more about each exhibition. Most exhibitions are installed for the whole of September.

Elliot Termote exhibits a collection of works which work together to communicate a sense of connection through an exaggerated commitment to the body; to moving, making shapes and communicating with purpose and feeling.

The body is a vessel – a container of emotion, of feeling and of instinct. Communicating this freely can make us feel vulnerable. Getting friends to throw their best shapes for the camera is sometimes a difficult process – it’s not an easy thing to do. We all design ways to protect ourselves which are hard to give up. 

The images are reworked with textures, materials and colours to offer a form of emotional protection after being vulnerable for the camera.

Venue 29 PrintWorks, 2 Kings Road
Artist contact:

Mary Ferguson explores human impacts on the environment. In these abstract paintings she responds to the plastic legacy of sewage pollution on East Lothian’s coastline, in acrylic on reclaimed panels.

A keen outdoor swimmer and surfer, paddleboarder and kayaker, Mary litter-picks regularly at the East Lothian beach near her home. Last year, she began making drawn and painted sketches inspired by the litter which ends up on beaches when water companies release raw sewage into our waterways, which they are allowed to do during periods of heavy rainfall.

Venue 31 Miros, 25 Promenade
Artist contact:
Instagram @mary_makes_shapes

Anthony Gow This series of artworks by Anthony Gow explores the idea that the way we live in the world affects us at the cellular level. The artworks were inspired by a personal journey with skin cancer, since cured.

The trees within the works represent something that looks healthy on the surface. Majestic and beautiful – a sense of order that supports life. But something else is going on under the ground that we cannot see.

In many ways these works are about vessels within vessels – us within the world and the world within us, through the way we live, just as trees can reflect the health of the planet, our cells reflect the health of our bodies.

Text is used in the works that refer to a personal view of cancer as a condition of how we live in our world and how we treat the environment in which we live.

Venue 33 Eyden’s, 215 Portobello High St
Artist contact:

Katy Sawrey’s work takes inspiration from the beauty of colours, textures, layers and shapes that we see around us in nature. Her exhibition explores humans as vessels of hope, to love, protect and heal our surrounding natural environment.

Venue 34 Smith & Gertrude, 254 Portobello High St
Artist contact:

Susan Wilson presents Broken Vessels to illustrate the leakage, wastage and pollution of water, a precious and vital resource.

Pristine white water bowls broken and roughly repaired, filled with inks and watercolours the liquid leaks out and spreads across the paper. Sea salt crystals and charcoal flecks swim in the discharge. The seepage coalesces and dries. Broken bowl shapes cut from Japanese Washi paper float on the surface like the litter that despoils  our rivers and seas. 

Framed work £125
Additional unframed pieces are available £70
To view, please contact the artist

Venue 37 Twelve Triangles, 300 Portobello High St
Artist contact:

Kirsty Dalton presents several sculptural pieces taking their influence from the impact of current environmental and climate changes impacting the sea, from coral reefs and from the beach in Portobello.

Kirsty Dalton presents several sculptural pieces taking their influence from the impact of current environmental and climate changes impacting the sea. 

Taking inspiration from the beach in Portobello new carving techniques allow the pieces to be morphed with striking features from various local shells and crustations. This touches on the resilience of nature highlighting that while some species will sadly become extinct, many will adapt, and evolve into a new way of being. 

The decline of the coral reefs due to extreme temperature changes and altered ocean chemistry is representative of climate change. This home to countless species, with nooks as vessels of safety for indigenous fish also represents a type of migration through its slow growth and creation, almost bridging the gap between animal and plant. 

Venue 30 The Wild Flower Shop, 90 Portobello High St
Artist contact:

Joanne Lennon

Joanne Lennon is exhibiting drawings, collages and prints which combine the shapes of bottle kilns, pottery patterns and shells with some other
Portobello features.

Venue 32 Aemilia, 186 Portobello High St
Artist contact:

Janette Sumner’s work seeks to raise awareness of tidelines, amazing ecological vessels for organisms, which unfortunately also carry toxins washed from flooded local urban areas and into our edge lands.

Tidelines are amazing ecological vessels for organisms such as crustaceans, sand-hoppers, seabirds, voles and mice. This is what interests Janette, the fact that these biodiverse lines are only there for a short space of time before being swept away again.

This year’s Art in Shops theme, ‘vessel’, embraces the tidelines as an ecological vessel, and by bringing together her research and art practice, Janette’s wish is that it will raise awareness of the intricate detail and vulnerability of the ecosystems of our Edinburgh coastline.

Venue 33 Eyden’s, 215 Portobello High St
Artist contact:

Catherine Eckersall’s paintings centre around the theme of the Scottish landscape as a vessel for water, as well as how people engage with these natural bodies of water. The different forms water takes within the natural landscape, from lochs sheltered within glens, to rivers carved out amongst forests and waves cocooned in bays are also a focus.

The exhibition is a celebration of visual beauty, whilst also highlighting that these bodies of water are essential to the natural environment.

The paintings explore this impact, integrating imagery of man-made barriers into the landscapes, and inviting the audience to think about the damage that can be wrought if natural formations of water are altered.

When making new work Catherine follows a process of distillation, selecting imagery from research and leading to a series of symbols which create a narrative. The resulting landscapes are exaggerated in form and colour, but ultimately carry a sense of familiarity.

Venue 35 Malvarosa, 262 Portobello High St
Artist contact:

Craigmillar and Niddrie community art club would love to welcome you to their exhibition ‘The Healing Power of the Sea’, inspired by this year’s ‘Vessel’ theme for Art Walk Porty.

The club was formed with the support of Connecting Craigmillar, based at the Thistle Foundation, during the pandemic as a way for local residents to share a passion for art, whilst building new friendships and support networks. 

There is an acknowledgement and appreciation within the group of the many health benefits of being surrounded by the sea. As many people in the group are managing health conditions, including mental health issues, we felt this was a fitting theme and a way to celebrate the spectacular landscapes that Edinburgh & Portobello has to offer.The group will use a variety of styles and techniques including water colours, collage, embroidery and sketching. 

Venue 38 Portobello and Joppa Church, 1 Brunstane Rd North
Open Saturdays 10am-6pm, Sundays 1pm-5pm

Jana Middleton

Jana Middleton’s large scale installation across two display windows is inspired by marine ecosystems. Algae mono-prints on textile and paper and coastal themed drawings in bold black ink also feature.

Nature is a beautiful thing, fluid and fragile. Through her sculptures made of aluminium wire mesh and inspired by microscopic images of algae cells, Jana aims to capture nature’s essence in its pure form.

Just like water passing through a sieve Jana uses a variety of light reflecting materials to capture movement of ever-changing nature systems around us. This three-dimensional landscape offers an immersive experience that encourages reflection on our impact on the environment, whilst also delving into the depths of our own inner worlds.

Venue 39 Dook, 22 Joppa Road
Artist contact: