Aberdeen Art Gallery set for a thrilling year ahead

Aberdeen Art Gallery has announced an exciting lineup of exhibitions for all ages and interests in 2023.

Aberdeen Art Gallery set for a thrilling year ahead

Aberdeen Art Gallery's 2023 program includes a showcase of Sir Quentin Blake’s book covers and illustrations, in honour of his 90th birthday. Additionally, 20 world-renowned photographers from the Magnum Photos collective have captured some of the most famous artists in recent history in their studios.

Three of Scotland’s top artists, Lennox Dunbar, Ian Howard, and Arthur Watson, will also be returning to exhibit in their hometown. Also, a rare 17th-century manuscript recently added to the UNESCO-recognized city archives will shed light on the civic and religious life of the city during a time of political upheaval and religious persecution.

Overall, the program sounds like it has something for everyone and is definitely worth checking out.

Shadows and Light – The Extraordinary Life of James McBey

11 February – 28 May

Shadows and Light, curated by author Alasdair Soussi, celebrates Aberdeenshire-born artist and adventurer James McBey. He was noted for his etchings and dry point engravings, and was once described as the “heir to Rembrandt”. This small-scale exhibition is curated by author Alasdair Soussi to coincide with his recently-published biography of McBey.


A new two-person exhibition by artist Emmie McLuskey and choreographer Janice Parker will be featured in the Contemporary Gallery on a bus in Aberdeen. The exhibit, titled “Movement,” combines dance and art to explore the relationship between the two. Keep an eye out for the Travelling Gallery as it makes stops across the city in March.

The Testament of Alexander Jaffray

4 March – 3 September

The Testament of Alexander Jaffray is an exhibition that examines the life of the two-time provost of Aberdeen. 2023 marks the 350th anniversary of the death of Alexander Jaffray, representative of the burgh in the Scottish Parliament. This prominent member of the community later became a Quaker, at a time when doing so would certainly mean persecution.

Where Ideas are Born

1 April – 11 June

Get ready for a visual feast at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Where Ideas are Born brings together over 20 talented photographers from the famous Magnum agency. This includes legends like Inge Morath, Eve Arnold, and Robert Capa. You’ll see 70 mesmerising photo portraits of world-renowned artists like Andy Warhol, George O’Keeffe, Ai Weiwei, and Yayoi Kusama.

Making a Splash! A Century of Women’s Beachwear

10 June – 14 January

Experience the evolution of beach fashion as it was shaped by historical events, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, and groundbreaking design and material advancements. Dive into the Archives, Gallery & Museums’ collection of stunning 20th-century beachwear, including iconic bathing costumes, in this must-see exhibition. See how the sands of time have shaped the way we dress for the beach.

Quentin Blake – Illustrating Verse and Book Covers

8 July – 17 September

Two Aberdeen Art Gallery exhibitions celebrate the talents of Quentin Blake. Illustrating Verse brings together for the first time a selection of Blake’s sketches and illustrations for a range of poetry, from comic nonsense poems to poignant ballads. While Book Covers demonstrates how Quentin Blake’s illustrations have grabbed the attention of readers of all ages over the past 60 years. The exhibition includes reproductions of the cover artwork and rough sketches which give insights into Blake’s unmistakable work.

Constructed Narratives: Lennox Dunbar, Ian Howard, Arthur Watson

14 October – 28 January

Discover the works of three of Scotland’s premier artists at this must-see exhibition. Lennox Dunbar, Ian Howard, and Arthur Watson, all hailing from Aberdeen, were nurtured by art teacher Charles Hemingway at Aberdeen Grammar School and went on to hold influential roles in Scotland’s art scene.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is a vibrant cultural hub located in the heart of the city. Since its founding in 1884, the gallery has played a vital role in the cultural life of the region, showcasing a wide range of art from both local and international artists.

The gallery is home to a stunning collection of works of art, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs. The collection is diverse and varied. It features works by some of the most renowned artists in history, such as Monet and Renoir. In addition to these classics, the gallery also has a strong focus on contemporary art, with regular exhibitions featuring the work of emerging artists from around the world.