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Following in the footsteps of Glasgow’s resplendent street art scene, Edinburgh boasts its fair share of inspired murals. Simply seek and you shall find. As the kingpin of the capital’s street art movement, Leith is a hotbed of creative genius and visual feast of art-adorned buildings beckoning the mind’s eye to engage. From the historical to the contemporary, explore our art guide of some of the most mind-reeling murals embellishing Leith.
Responsible for putting Edinburgh’s street art world on the map, LeithLate is a visual arts organisation dedicated to championing public art initiatives like The Mural Project — a public artworks movement that preserves history, heritage and community spirit through these visual narratives — The Shutter Project (artists sprucing up local shop shutters with bespoke artworks), and the LeithLate Festival — an annual celebration with its exhibitions, panel talks, mural tours, installations, on-street interventions, spoken word performances and film screenings. Give LeithLate a blank space and an artist, and the result is a wondrous network of bespoke street art woven into the architectural and cultural fabric of Leith.
A local treasure found near the Leith Library, the Leith History Mural is one of the original historical murals that predates those commissioned by LeithLate. The masterpiece of Tim Chalk and Paul Grime, this captivating public artwork journeys through time to narrate Leith’s colourful history.
A collaborative effort crafted in a torrent of creative burst by Blameless Collective, The Leith Aquatic is anchored on Halmyre Street and stays true to the legacy of Leith with its take on the Leith Persevere Crest. The ship was inspired by the last steam ship registered in Leith, the SS Explorer, while the fluid lines and telling narratives collide in the Scottish swelling sea.
This mural by Fife artist Russell Dempster pays homage to Leith-born artist, Pop Art pioneer and one of the UK’s most celebrated post-war sculptors Eduardo Paolozzi. This portrait, with its powerful gaze and brooding essence, can be found on Henderson Street and is comprised of paste-up poster, paint and pastel.
Always one to challenge entrenched precedents, renowned Scottish artist Kirsty Whiten never fails to create art that ignites the senses through her captivating social commentaries. Her Wronger Rites mural is no exception. Wronger Rites: The Quing of the Now Peoples was launched as part of LeithLate in the form of permanent and temporary public artworks spanning from paste ups opposite the Union St Printmakers to a poster tower on Leith Walk. Her stirring hand-painted mural lives a stone’s throw from Out Of The Blue Drill Hall on Dalmeny Street.
Raved-about artist Elph is all the rage, with his work complimenting a labyrinth of buildings, walls and spaces around town. Lighting up Leith Walk with its haunting eyes, unicorn colours, textured hair and alluring vibe, the Elph Mural pays a firm nod to Japanese manga and anime characters while adding to the cultural pizzazz of Leith.
Infused with bunches of personality and a pleasing potion of colours, the Pilrig Park Mural descended upon its city in 2017. Another spellbinding LeithLate collaboration by the Too Much Fun Club and Friends of Pilrig Park; the main sources of inspiration for the artists involved was the Pilrig Park Special Secondary School pupils, as well as members of Pilmeny Youth Centre, via collaborative workshops.