Hidden Door, Distant Places: Visual Art Preview

As a visitor to this year’s Hidden Door festival there are physical doors to be opened that reveal artistic endeavours; endeavours that followed passages these artists explored that were, until this year, less trodden.

The landscape and physical geography not only of Scotland, and its surrounding islands, but toward foreign fields has proved to be rich in source material for several of this year’s visual artists including Robyn Braham, Tyler and Mara Marxt Lewis and Josie Turnbull.

Robyn Braham’s work begins in Aberdeenshire and concludes at the Isle of Canna. ‘Portraits’, taking the form of audio and visual recordings, recall the tradition and people who have resided in rural areas through generation to generation. Much like the history of people that have travelled through and occupied both the Leith Theatre and State Cinema, visitors are invited to embark on Robyn’s journey through her documentation, moving through and pausing for thought over progressions in tradition, culture, and community.


Within the boundaries of Scotland and the islands, Tyler and Mara Marxt Lewis discover the desolate Island of Mingulay at the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides. Tyler and Mara bring a sense of the isolation of the island to Leith through the use of playful soundscape and installation. The bringing together of the couple’s respective backgrounds in art, exhibition, and music ultimately seeks to consider what role the uninhabited island might have to play in the future.


Looking beyond the perimeters of the United Kingdom, Hidden Door artists have ventured afar to create work responding to far-flung locations and foreign cultures. In comparison to the rural landscape of the highlands and islands, Josie Turnbull’s venture to Vietnam feels exotic. Josie will be displaying photography works at Hidden Door that centre around the theme of amusement parks in and around Ho Chi Minh City. The project aims to magnify the latent anxieties of sites tailored to beguile, terrify, and teach.

Themes of transience and the documentation of environments feel particularly pertinent to Hidden Door 2018 as the festival is set to take on another venue. This year, another derelict building, the State Cinema is quietly awaiting the vim and vigour of creative energy that is set to liberate the cinema for the duration of the festival.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Robyn’s work in the Leith Theatre, Mara and Tyler’s installation also in the Leith Theatre, and Josie’s photography in the State Cinema.