The BirdsNest Gallery is a new art gallery set up during the lockdown. Located in an A-listed early Victorian building in the Southside of Edinburgh, the Gallery which still retains most of the original decor and beautiful interior houses the main gallery, exhibition space, mini cinema, studio and art library.
The name 'BirdsNest' originated from an intact bird's nest found in the back garden of the Gallery by Natalia Sho Brand who is the founder of the BirdsNest art enterprise. This reminded her of Van Gogh's drawings and paintings of birds' nests exploring the creative possibilities of the subject. For around two years the nest has been placed tastefully, but 'untouched', in the space which is now the main gallery. During the lockdown, it became an inspiration for ideas for a gallery name. This is now a symbol for her art enterprise.
The Gallery plans to have two exhibitions at the same time bi-monthly: one is for contemporary artists' works, displayed in the Brand Hall. This aims to offer the showcase mainly for very talented young artists to exhibit their works. The other is a highly-curated themed exhibition of brilliant artworks selected by our curator and co-director Ken Johnstone from our collection.
The BirdsNest Collection houses an extensive art works containing hundreds of drawings, paintings and sculptures created by emerging and established artists. We are constantly on the lookout for more to acquire.
The BirdsNest also host a series of events related to the exhibition, including performing art, concerts, films, lecturers, open days with tours, conversations with the artist, life drawing class, a Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' during the exhibition. These events will be announced via our official website and social media.
About Our Team
Natalia (Sho) Brand, Chief Executive
Born in Taipei, Sho came to Britain in 1998 and attended Essex University for a postgraduate degree, Edinburgh University for a Master’s, and Glasgow University for her PhD, reading art history. Her specialities range from the Renaissance to the present day.
After gaining her doctorate and British citizenship, she started working as an independent art historian in 2006, based in Edinburgh. Since then, she has written 13 art books and numerous articles for magazines, journals, and newspapers. She writes two monthly articles for the top art magazines published in Mandarin. Entitled The Artist and Art Collection + Design, they are widely read in Taiwan, Mainland China, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.
Her published articles relate to exhibitions and collections from all over the world. She has also written catalogues for international artists’ exhibitions and often delivers lectures in Taipei, Mainland China, the USA, and other countries. She has also curated an exhibition in the 2016 Venice Biennale.
Her career has developed connections with individual artists in Scotland and throughout the world. She has also offered advice to many art lovers to help enhance their collections, based upon her experience as an art historian.
Ken Johnstone, Managing Director
A graduate of George Heriot’s School Edinburgh, Ken has a postgraduate degree in Sculpture from Edinburgh College of Art. He has spent most of his life creating art work, teaching, organising venues and exhibitions, and travelling around the world's main art galleries. He was Principal Teacher of Art and Design at Broughton High School in Edinburgh for many years until his retirement.
Ken has an extensive understanding of Scottish and Western Art. He is a regular tutor at the Scottish Arts Club and has given many lectures there. He has also been responsible for tutoring different forms of life drawing in the Edinburgh art scene. He offers expertise in professional art-making to our Gallery.
Jim Johnstone, Business Development Director
Jim went to George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh and, subsequently, graduated with MA Economics from Edinburgh University and MBA from the Harvard Business School. He has had extensive multinational experience in various senior positions as an executive, a consultant, and an entrepreneur, based at different times in London, New York, Brussels, Tokyo, and Beirut. He is again in London, using his expertise to help companies expand their business internationally and in the UK. Jim has also spent time in the public sector as CEO of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, charged with attracting international investment and developing the country's exports. At one stage, he was deeply involved in business and investment banking activities linking the U.S., China, and the Far East. Since then, he has been working on projects involving marketing and business development. Jim has had a lifelong interest in art, encouraged by the career of his brother, Ken.
Mattea Gernentz, Curator and Researcher
Mattea is a poet and art curator from Franklin, Tennessee. She graduated with Distinction from the University of St Andrews with a master's degree in Museum and Gallery Studies. Her dissertation focused on Berthe Morisot, Julie Manet, and the feminine gaze within Impressionism. She has previously gained curatorial experience at the Frist Art Museum, Scottish Fisheries Museum, and University of Dundee. She studied English literature and psychology at Wheaton College as an undergraduate, and she is highly interested in modernism, the intersection of visual art and the written word, and feminist approaches to art history.
Ting-Yu Tu, Creative Manager
Ting-Yu is a visual designer with nine years of experience and an art project manager with three years of working experience. She has a multidisciplinary background across art, culture, and design. She holds an MSc in Modern and Contemporary Art History from University of Edinburgh and a BA in Creative Cultural Industries Management from National Taipei University of Education. Her main foci are culture and sustainability, visual design, contemporary art curatorial practice, and racial and gender representation in art history.