Who is Scottish artist Richard Demarco and when is documentary The Richard Demarco Story on BBC Scotland?

Richard Demarco, a Scottish artist and supporter of the 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.

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

Richard Demarco
Richard Demarco
Richard Demarco

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

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

Who is Richard Demarco?

Richard Demarco was born in Edinburgh in 1930 - he is a 92 year old artist who has spent his life producing and advocating for the arts.

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

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

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

Brian Cox and Richard Demarco
Brian Cox and Richard Demarco
Brian Cox and Richard Demarco

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

He fostered connections with other countries, including many Eastern European nations during the Cold War, sharing art across borders - in 2013 he was nominated as European Citizen of the Year.

Demarco has been heavily involved in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - the largest arts festival in the world - and has put on several cultural events and productions at the festival over the years.

During the Cold War, he crossed the Iron Curtain to bring artists from Eastern Europe to the Fringe.

Demarco has won many awards for his work, including a gold medal from the government of Poland and a CBE in the 2006 New Years Honours.

What is Rico: The Richard Demarco Story about?

The scope of the documentary spans seven decades, and explores Demarco’s long life.

First, it looks at Demarco’s childhood growing up as a Scot of Italian descent during the Second World War.

Then the documentary follows Demarco’s time as co-founder of the Traverse Theatre before looking at his work as a groundbreaking gallery director.

Much of the film is focused on the internationalism of Demarco’s work, as he created a shared artistic dialogue between Scotland and the Eastern Bloc in the 1980s and ‘90s.

It also explores Demarco’s current mission to find a permanent home for his huge collection of art, photography, and writing.

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

When is Rico: The Richard Demarco Story on TV?

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

The documentary is 1 hr 25 mins long and will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer shortly after it is first broadcast.