Local Starving Artists Put on ‘Show of the Year’ in Central Edinburgh
‘Legends in the Game’ at Whitespace
Gallery, 76 East Crosscauseway, Edinburgh EH89HQ
Opening Event Fri 17 November
6pm – late
Exhibition runs Sat 18 and Sun 19
November 12pm – 6pm
A contemporary art exhibition by local chums will be open for the duration of the
weekend at Whitespace Gallery, Edinburgh from 12 – 6pm, on Sat 18th
and Sun 19th November. An opening event will run from 6pm until late
on Friday 17 November. Boldly titled ‘Legends in the Game’, the two-person show
presents the work of artistic friends William Sherval and James Alexander
McKenzie. William is a figurative painter, and James is an ‘experimental poet’.
William’s interest is portraiture; he uses close friends, relatives and strangers as his
subjects. His paintings are developed from sketches and photographs; these
could be deliberately posed or snapped from the top of a bus. Found images
taken from the internet, printed material, or discarded photos provide another
rich source of material.
James is dedicated to the subversion and advancement of disciplines in the arts. He
moves between poetry, performance art, and theatre. In his ‘poetry-plays’,
McKenzie blends, and blurs the boundaries of, poetry, painting, theatre, spoken
word, performance art, installation, sculpture, and stand-up comedy.
‘Legends in the Game’ is generously sponsored by Moonwake Beer Co. and Bellfield
Free Art Exhibition and Live Stand-up Poetry Performances Set to
Entertain in Leith
‘DECOYHOUSE2.0’ at Sett Studios, 127 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH68NP
Opening event Sat 22 July 6 - 9pm
Exhibition runs Sun 23 to Sat 29 July 11am - 5pm
An exciting free performance and installation art event by two rising creative forces
opens in Leith, Edinburgh at Sett Studios from 23 to 29 July, from 11am to 5pm.
Titled DECOYHOUSE2.0, the two-person exhibition showcases the work of award-
winning, interdisciplinary poet James Alexander McKenzie and multidisciplinary artist
Astrid Batts. The pair are keen to share their hybrid, multimedia and entertaining
work with the community.
An opening event will feature a live performance on Saturday 22 July at 6 - 9pm.
There will also be free daily live performances at 3pm (duration thirty minutes) by
McKenzie, and he will lead a cut-up poetry workshop on Wednesday 26 July at 7pm
(runs till 8:30pm with drinks and pizza provided). In addition, there be a free open-
mic event on Friday 28th July hosted by Batts in collaboration with exciting emerging
artist collective Awright Projects at 6 - 9pm. McKenzie said, “We are keen to share
our work and encourage the local community to visit the exhibition, performances
and events. Entry is free to everything, all welcome.” However, discretion is advised
with bringing children along as there is obscene language in his performances.
DECOYHOUSE2.0 is a sequel. The first show was a DIY-exhibition where we
transformed my flat into an art gallery,” explained Batts. McKenzie and Batts thought
‘DECOYHOUSE’ was a humorous title because the experience of visiting the
exhibition was misleading. “On a normal day, our flat isn’t so beautiful,” Batts
explained. ‘Decoy’ is also a good word because masks and guises are hallmarks in
McKenzie is dedicated to subverting rules in the arts. Titled ‘Jimmy Mack Follies’,
McKenzie described his contribution to DECOYHOUSE 2: “Jimmy Mack Follies is a
fragmentary bricolage across poetry, painting and performance. It swings between
comedy and despair.” He is influenced by Samuel Beckett and William Burroughs.
‘Jimmy Mack Follies’ is a surreal and introspective variety show. Performing spoken
word in the guise of a rogues’ gallery of alter-egos each day, McKenzie’s personas
are also the focus of his artwork – he has created sculptural collage-paintings that
correspond with the different personas and double up as theatrical scenery in his
daily performances. The sculptural paintings are made from discarded materials he
has scavenged at St Margaret’s House art studios in Meadowbank, Edinburgh.
“My work is a blend of painting, poetry, theatre, spoken word, performance art and
stand-up comedy,’ explained McKenzie, who received a bursary from the Royal
Academy to develop an experimental play in Orkney in 2019. McKenzie graduated
from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 2017 and studied for a master’s at
Goldsmiths in 2021.
Batts is an Edinburgh based multidisciplinary artist and recent Fine Art graduate from
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Her work usually aims to evoke sensations of
nostalgia and memory through a feminist lens. She uses personal experience to
challenge domestic roles and gender norms, whilst often using herself as the main
Describing her work Astrid Batts said, “I use installation, sculpture, performance and
painting to challenge domestic roles and gender norms. My ethos is about art being
fun, accessible and not being taken too seriously.”
Jimmy Mack Follies is subtitled ‘A Small, Unreal Universe of Performing Alter Egos Mocking My Arrogance and Showcasing the Gravity of My Grandiosity’, but what exactly is it? I unpack my interdisciplinary avant-garde poetry-play.