Who is Scottish artist Richard Demarco?

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Richard Demarco, a Scottish artist and promoter of visual and performing arts, is celebrated in a new BBC documentary

A new BBC documentary, Rico: The Richard Demarco Story, follows the life and work of the acclaimed Scottish artist.

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Filmmaker Marco Federici explored the Demarco Archive, a vast resource of artworks, to bring the documentary to life.

Richard Demarco

The documentary is narrated by Scottish actor Brian Cox, known for his roles in Succession, Troy and Adaptation.

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Rico celebrates the life of Richard Demarco, one of Scotland’s most celebrated artists and a pioneer of the Edinburgh Festival.

Who is Richard Demarco?

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Born in Edinburgh in 1930, Richard Demarco is a 92-year-old artist who has spent his life creating and advocating for art.

Demarco studied book illustration, typography, printmaking and mural painting at Edinburgh College of Art from 1949 to 1953.

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In 1957 he became master of art at Duns Scotus Academy and married Anne Muckle, also a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art.

In the 1960s he founded the Richard Demarco Gallery, which also served as a venue at the Edinburgh Fringe from 1966 to 1992. The gallery was not designed to be run for profit and many artists were able to use the venue at little or no cost.

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Brian Cox and Richard Demarco

Demarco has presented thousands of exhibitions and performances throughout his career, most of them in Edinburgh.

He maintained ties to other countries, including many Eastern European nations, during the Cold War and shared art across borders – in 2013 he was named European Citizen of the Year.

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Demarco has been heavily involved with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the largest arts festival in the world – and has hosted several cultural events and productions at the festival over the years.

During the Cold War he crossed the Iron Curtain to marginalize artists from Eastern Europe.

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Demarco has received many awards for his work, including a Gold Medal from the Polish Government and a CBE in the 2006 New Years Honors.

What is Rico: The Richard Demarco Story about?

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The documentary spans seven decades and examines Demarco’s long life.

First, it’s about Demarco’s childhood growing up as a Scotsman of Italian descent during World War II.

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The documentary then follows Demarco’s time as co-founder of the Traverse Theater before considering his work as a groundbreaking gallery director.

Much of the film focuses on the international nature of Demarco’s work as he created a collaborative artistic dialogue between Scotland and the Eastern Bloc in the 1980s and 1990s.

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It also examines Demarco’s current quest to find a permanent home for his vast collection of art, photography and writing.

The documentary is narrated by Brian Cox but also includes interviews with Serbian artist Marina Abramovic, British journalist Andrew Marr and art historian Sir Nicolas Serota.

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When is Rico: The Richard Demarco Story on TV?

Rico: The Richard Demarco Story airs Thursday 4th August at 10.30pm on BBC Scotland.

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The documentary lasts 1 hour 25 minutes and will be available on BBC iPlayer shortly after it first airs.

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