Another new fantastic piece of street art is taking shape on Leith Walk, once again, coordinated by LeithLate. This time, the street art is going up on a shop front that has lain empty for years.
Should you be wondering who the people in the images are, and who painted them, we’re pleased to be able to share a bit of background about the project from the LeithLate team.
The artist painting the piece on Leith Walk is called Guido van Helten. He’s worked all over the world from Iceland, to Australia, and we understand that it was him that made contact with the LeithLate team through the Edinburgh Art Festival after being commissioned by Glasgow City Council to do work for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Morvern Cunningham of LeithLate explained that Guido’s work always references the location it is in. She said: “In the case of the Leith Walk piece, Guido is painting a scene from an Edinburgh International Festival production of Macmillan’s version of Seven Deadly Sins, performed at Festival and King’s Theatres, Edinburgh in 1961.
“The heroine of the production is a split personality: rational vs impulsive/creative – which could be interpreted as a reference to the relationship between Edinburgh and Leith!
“The 1961 production chose to portray the relationship as that of two sisters, played by ballerina Anja Linden and singer Cleo Laine, both of which will be represented in the final artwork.”
However, this isn’t the only work that Guido has painted in Leith. He recently completed another work in Out of the Blue.
Morvern explains: “Out of the Blue has a strong connection to the Gretna rail disaster (the worst in the UK to date) of 1915 which killed 227 people and injured 246 others. 102 of those killed were young men from the 7th (Leith) Battalion of the Royal Scots, on their way to Liverpool, where they were to leave for Gallipoli. The bodies of the victims were laid out in the Drill Hall prior to burial in Rosebank Cemetery.
“Instead of focusing on the tragedy of the story, Guido painted a portrait of one of the survivors of the disaster, in his old age.”
Both of the art works are welcome additions to the neighbourhood most people would probably agree. It would seem that as the profile of LeithLate grows, more good things come their way. Kudos to Morvern and all the gang for driving the project forwards.
Edinburgh Spotlight recently published this excellent round-up of Leith street art, both temporary and permanent, that has appeared in Leith over the years.