An artwork curated and co-commissioned by the Talbot Rice Gallery, and which received additional support from Reid School of Music, has been making headlines for promoting friendship in the age of Brexit.

Song of the Union takes place at the Burns Monument on Regent Road in Edinburgh, where a choir of voices from every EU member state perform Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne.

Nigerian-born artist Emeka Ogboh’s work will be broadcast during Edinburgh Art Festival – it opened on 29 July and will run until 29 August 2021. Ogboh has recorded Scotland-based citizens from across the EU singing in their native languages, editing, programming and sequencing them to produce a complex and ever-changing soundscape. It is inspired by the singing of Auld Lang Syne by MEPs in Brussels in January 2020, as the UK exited the EU.

A limited edition vinyl and an artist’s book, coinciding with the exhibition, will include the 28 Auld Lang Syne scores used, alongside translated lyrics from each of the EU states. Among others, it will feature contributions and perspectives from ECA musicologist Dr Morag Grant and Talbot Rice Gallery director Tessa Giblin.

Outlets which have reported on Emeka's work include the Scotsman, Financial Times, Frieze, and India Education Diary.

The artwork was co-commmisioned with Edinburgh Art Festival, and supported by the PLACE Programme, a partnership between Edinburgh Festivals, the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland. It also received additional support from Goethe-Institut Glasgow, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), and Museums and Galleries Edinburgh.

Related people