February 1, 2019

Is this the Edinburgh Endarkenment?

Rafaela Taylor, 28

My painting is a reaction to the sale of the publicly owned land that sits behind Edinburgh Central Library. It was gifted to the people of Edinburgh by the Dunfermline born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who called on the rich to to use their wealth to improve society.

The decision by those in power to sell the land will have real and lasting consequences (a library starved of daylight and the loss of an important NHS clinic are just two…) yet it seems to have been made behind closed doors, favouring the interests of a luxury hotel brand over residents’ wellbeing and sense of collective identity.

A group of Edinburgh residents have been relentlessly trying to reverse this tragedy but they aren’t powerful enough. The image of one particularity dedicated activist camping up in the single tree on the site before he was evicted and the tree was cut down stuck with me for almost two years before I worked up the courage to paint this.


1.6m x 0.75m
Acrylic & oil on board