Show Your Hope

Show your Hope is a mobile art exhibition by Dutch storyteller Mr Martin who has been travelling all over the world with a van full of paintings since 2003. The idea is simple - Mr Martin works with international artists providing them with a small canvas and asks them to respond to the phrase ‘show your hope’ in whatever way they see best. He then comes back at a later date to collect the finished artwork and add it to his collection. Impressively, over the 12 years since he started he has amassed 860 works, only 10% of which are currently on display at his static stand in the courtyard of C nova.

The key strength of the exhibition is in the diversity of work on display within the limits of a uniform-issue canvas and a specified theme.

Every day during the Fringe, Mr Martin presents a selection of paintings in 15-minute sessions telling the story of the project and explaining the origins of different works. ‘15 minutes’ should be taken with a pinch of salt – the performance we saw was nearer 40, and Mr Martin himself confessed ‘I could talk for seven hours’. It is easy to see why he finds it hard to stop as each painting has a unique story behind it.

Mr Martin tells anecdotes around the paintings rather than explaining their meaning in any great detail, which is a wise decision because it avoids disappointing those for whom the reality does not live up to their imagined interpretation. Mr Martin is a natural storyteller, warmly welcoming his audience. He talks so passionately about the work it is hard not to be infected with his enthusiasm, a feeling he encourages by actively asking questions and introducing ‘experiments’ to induce discussion. One such experiment was to take a painting and ask an audience member to say without pausing to think what the painting was about. Our shy, tentative answers were greeted with gusto by Mr Martin: ‘After all, with art there are no wrong answers’.

The key strength of the exhibition is in the diversity of work on display within the limits of a uniform-issue canvas and a specified theme. The experience is a little like people watching, each canvas a different and personal response to a universal theme. The artists represented range in age from 12 to 84, from the totally unknown amateur to the famous professional, which inevitably means the quality varies quite considerably. Mr Martin drew out work by artists from Iran, Sarajevo, Goa and Macedonia amongst others introducing us to some of the lively characters he has met along his journey including a Yugoslavian rock star, a drug addict who painted a beautiful ink self-portrait, and an artist whose painting was still soaking wet when Mr Martin came to collect it. Mr Martin talks about different paintings each time so this is definitely one to come back to between shows. 

Reviews by Lettie Mckie

Udderbelly Festival

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel

★★★★★
The Vaults

Skin A Cat

★★★★★
The Vaults

Underground

★★★★
Orange Tree Theatre

The Rolling Stone

★★★★★
Charing Cross Theatre

Piaf

★★
London Theatre Workshop

Through The Mill

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Mr Martin has travelled the world in a van crammed with art to collect his intriguing exhibition. Parking up in Edinburgh, he will guide you through a labyrinth of images and breathe life into the paintings, the artists, and the stories behind them. An ever-surprising journey through the mind and images. Let yourself be taken through endless new dimensions of paintings and perceptions.

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets