Unmissable upcoming exhibitions

National Galleries of Scotland announce unmissable upcoming exhibitions in Edinburgh.

A major Sir Grayson Perry retrospective, the largest exhibition of Alberta Whittle’s career to date, a solo show by Do Ho Suh, and printmakers’ treasures are also among highlights of the National Galleries of Scotland’s new exhibitions programme.

Grayson Perry, Our Town, 2022 © Grayson Perry. Courtesy the artist, Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd and Victoria Miro

Grayson Perry | Smash Hits

22 July 2023–12 November 2023
Royal Scottish Academy
The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL

This summer, come and see the biggest ever exhibition of Sir Grayson Perry’s work, covering his 40-year career. Perry has gone from taking pottery evening classes to winning the Turner Prize, presenting television programmes on Channel 4 and writing acclaimed books.

Pottery allowed him the opportunity to indulge his fascination with sex, Punk, and counterculture, amongst other things, in the most unlikely and polite of art forms. Today he is one of Britain’s most celebrated artists and cultural figures.

Popular and provocative, Perry makes art that deals with difficult and complex ideas in an accessible and often funny way. He loves taking on big issues that are universally human: masculinity, sexuality, class, religion, politics and more. On view will be subversive pots, brilliantly intricate prints, elaborate sculptures, and huge, captivating tapestries – all imbued with Perry’s sharp wit and social commentary. Working with traditional mediums, Perry addresses the controversial issues of our times. Running at the Royal Scottish Academy from 22 July until 12 November 2023, discover how and why he has become such a cultural icon.

Alberta Whittle, installation view ‘deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory’, Scotland + Venice, 59th Venice Biennale, 2022 Courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute/ Toby Webster Ltd., Glasgow. Photo: Cristiano Corte

Alberta Whittle | create dangerously 

1 April 2023–7 January 2024 
Modern One

Alberta Whittle | create dangerously is an immersive exhibition which invites you to slow down and pause. At the heart of Alberta’s solo show is her generous spirit which promotes compassion and collective care as means of resisting racism and anti-Blackness. Alberta addresses the brutality and harm caused by colonialism, the Transatlantic trade in enslaved people, and the ongoing climate crisis.

Through richly symbolic artworks, she pulls apart the belief that ’racism and police brutality is [just] an English/Scottish problem or an American problem’. Instead, she underlines Scotland’s complicity in the structures of white supremacy. Often deeply personal, weaving stories of family and belonging, Alberta ultimately offers a message of hope, asking us to imagine a world outside of these damaging systems and ways of thinking.

This will be the largest showing of Alberta’s works to date, with sculptures, digital collages, watercolours and new paintings made especially for the show, taking over the ground floor of Modern One. Alongside never-before-seen artworks, the free exhibition offers you the opportunity to see Alberta’s extraordinary tapestry, Entanglement is more than blood, and film, Lagareh – The Last Born – which was display at the Venice Biennale 2022, commissioned by Scotland+Venice. Alberta Whittle: create dangerously, running from 1 April 2023 until 7 January 2024, will explore the ambition and breadth of the Barbadian-Scottish artist’s career to date. Alberta Whittle: create dangerously is kindly supported by Baillie Gifford, National Galleries of Scotland Foundation and The Alberta Exhibition Supporters’ Circle.

Do Ho Suh, Blueprint, 2013, courtesy of the artist and Dieu Donné paper mill.

Do Ho Suh | Tracing Time

17 February–1 September 2024
Modern One

A first for us and for Scotland: a solo exhibition coming winter 2023/24 of the South Korean-born, London-based Do Ho Suh. One of the world’s leading contemporary artists, Do Ho Suh will explore the foundational role that drawing and paper play in Suh’s artistic practice, focusing on his collaborative methods, experimental techniques, and innovative use of materials.

The free exhibition, taking over an entire level of Modern One, will present the artist’s complex and compelling thread drawings – in which cotton thread is embedded on handmade paper – alongside architectural rubbings, paper sculptures, cyanotypes, printmaking and watercolours. There will also be a major new installation of Suh’s famed ‘hubs’, life-size sculptures that recreate physical spaces in colourful, translucent fabric. You can step right inside and immerse yourselves in this innovative reimagining of places meaningful to the artist and his life. Do Ho Suh is kindly supported by National Galleries of Scotland Foundation, and our associated engagement and audience development initiatives are kindly supported by Baillie Gifford.

Elizabeth Blackadder, Cats and Flowers,1980 © The Estate of Dame Elizabeth Blackadder. All Rights Reserved 2022 Bridgeman Images. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland, purchased 1980.

The Printmaker's Art | Rembrandt to Rego

2 December 2023–25 February 2024 
Royal Scottish Academy

Printmaking, one of the most accessible art forms, takes centre stage this Winter. Come and experience the print pioneers who have made their mark in the last five hundred years in Rembrandt to Rego | The Printmaker’s Art. 

You will go on a journey from Albrecht Dürer in the fifteenth century right through to contemporary artists including Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili. On the way you will discover how artists have pushed the boundaries in both subject and technique through screen printing, etching, engraving and more. The show includes many brilliant artists who are now famous for their printmaking; see prints by Andy Warhol, William Blake, Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya, Elizabeth Blackadder, Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Pablo Picasso and more. Appreciate the techniques, tools and materials up close – you may even be inspired to give it a go. Rembrandt to Rego: The Printmaker’s Art runs from 2 December until 25 February 2024.

Vogue House by Frederic Aranda © Frederic Aranda

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022

17 June 2023–10 September 2023

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 marks a welcome return to the Portrait. Capturing and sharing emotional, dramatic, or everyday moments in life is the magic of this exhibition.

A truly global affair, the prize celebrates the very best in contemporary photography on an international scale. Sharing work by celebrated professionals and enthusiastic amateurs alike, the images selected for the exhibition share in their ability to move onlookers. This year’s prize-winning photographs examine a range of subjects – from queerness, transness and the concept of chosen family, socially distanced glimpses into daily lockdown life, to identity and life in former Soviet states. See several famous faces up close, including footballer and activist Marcus Rashford and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard. The variety of themes explored throughout the exhibition is matched by the high-quality, contemporary portraiture that reflects the shifting world of today. This free exhibition runs from 17 June until 10 September 2023.

Chris Leslie, Sighthill, Glasgow, 2016 © Chris Leslie.

Making Space | Photographs of Architecture

7 October 2023–3 March 2024

Also at the Portrait, Making Space | Photographs of Architecture will explore how architecture impacts our lives. As a record of human life past, present, and future, architecture and people are intrinsically linked.

A poor built environment exacerbates inequality, but architecture has the power to address social issues including homelessness, poverty, and displacement. This fascinating exhibition will also consider how the built environment has a significant role to play in creating a more sustainable future. On display will be a diverse range of photographic styles, formats and processes dating from the 1840s to the present day. Follow the line from Hill & Adamson’s early experiments on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill through to spectacular contemporary photographs by Andreas Gursky and Chris Leslie which capture the breath-taking scale of modern buildings. Entry to this exhibition is free and will take place from 7 October 2023 until 3 March 2024.

I wonder what would happen if different creatures were mixed together in space, Granton P7 class.

Your Art World

24 June 2023–14 April 2024

Your Art World, from summer 2023 to spring 2024, will help young people across Scotland to discover a whole new world of creative possibilities.

This inclusive and interactive exhibition is free to see and includes work generated over the past year from a nation-wide call out to those aged between 3–18 years old. Your Art World’s goal is to inspire and empower young people to think and act creatively but there’s also the added bonus of having their artwork showcased. All submissions will be displayed both online and at the National. Your Art World is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Piazzetta, Venice 1840

Turner in January

1 January–31 January 2023

The final programme highlight is the return of a keenly-awaited tradition: the opening of Turner in January, an exhibition of mesmerising watercolours to help us through the dark days of winter.


Scotland’s famous collection of J.M.W. Turner watercolours was left to the nation by the great art collector Henry Vaughan in 1900. Since then, following Vaughan’s strict guidelines, they have only ever been displayed during the month of January, when natural light levels are at their lowest. Because of this, these watercolours still possess a freshness and an intensity of colour, almost 200 years since they were originally created. Presented at the Royal Scottish Academy, Turner in January will open on New Year’s Day 2023 and be open throughout the month of January. Turner in January is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

28 November 2022