FREED slave Frederick Douglass, who campaigned in 19th-century Scotland for abolition, will be celebrated as part of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival.

Lessons Of The Hour, which will receive its European premiere, was filmed in Edinburgh and elsewhere in Scotland, as well as London and Douglass’s home in Washington DC.

Created by celebrated British ­artist Isaac Julien, the film portrait is ­informed by some of the ­abolitionist’s most important speeches, ­weaving historical scenes with footage from ­recent times to highlight the ­continued relevance and urgency of ­Douglass’s words.

It will be presented in partnership with National Galleries of Scotland at Modern One and runs until October 10 to coincide with Black History Month.

It is just one of more than 35 exhibitions and new commissions in visual art spaces across the city, complemented by an online programme of events and digital presentations.

The return of the festival next Thursday follows the cancellation of the 2020 edition and an exceptionally challenging period for the creative sector due to the pandemic.

Brexit will also feature this year in Song Of The Union, a new sound installation sited in Edinburgh’s Burns Monument, a circular neo-classical pavilion built in 1831 as a national monument to Scotland’s bard.

The National:

Made by Nigerian sound artist Emeka Ogboh (above), Song Of The Union is a response to the ongoing theatre surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union and features the recorded voices of citizens from each nation state of the EU, who currently reside in Scotland, singing Auld Lang Syne in their mother tongue.

The festivals programme of exhibitions includes RESET, at Jupiter Artland, a new solo show by Turner-prize co-winning artist Alberta Whittle. Whittle produced the work at the height of lockdown, filming across Scotland, South Africa and Barbados and responding to the ­immediate context of the Black Lives Matter movement, the global ­pandemic and the climate emergency. The film connects emergent fears of contagion, moral panic and xenophobia, with a call to action to face and heal injustices and cultivate hope in hostile environments.

Jupiter Artland will also present Mimi, a new permanent outdoor ­installation by Scottish artist Rachel Maclean. Three years in the making, this ground-breaking new commission is the first time Maclean has worked entirely with cartoon animation and at an architectural scale. Her ultimate ambition is to transport Mimi’s world to high streets around the UK.

Elsewhere, the Fine Art Society will present Owners Of The Soil by Scottish artists Shaun Fraser and Will Maclean. The exhibition will examine ties between land, identity and ownership through the early Scottish diaspora’s dual identity of colonised and coloniser.

MACLEAN’S boxed constructions, collages and drawings recount the experiences of six of his ancestors, all from Polbain, Ross-shire. Each left Scotland as a result of the Highland Clearances. Fraser’s works in glass, bronze and print focus on Nova Scotia, an area dominated by Scottish settlements with place names that displaced First Nation Mi’kmaq titles. Incorporating peat and organic matter, Fraser’s work holds an innate link to the locality upon which it draws.

Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop! tells the story of Edinburgh native Archie Brennan (1931-2019) in the first major retrospective of his work, presented by Dovecot Studios. Pop artist, weaver and former Mr Scotland, Archie Brennan changed the course of modern weaving and is considered one of the greatest unrecognised pop artists of the 20th century.

THE exhibition brings together more than 80 tapestries as well as archive material, presenting a unique chance to delve into the world of a master of modern tapestry. This exhibition is co-curated by National Museums Scotland.

Edinburgh Art Festival will also including the first chance for festival audiences to visit the newly reopened and extended Fruitmarket, as well as Viking treasure at the National Museum of Scotland; paintings by renowned Scottish artist Alison Watt at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery; the work of cinema giant Ray Harryhausen at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the centenary exhibition of artist Joan Eardley at the Scottish Gallery.