Sally Hackett – The Fountain of Youth

Sally Hackett, The Fountain of Youth, 2016, photograpg by Ross McLean / StudioRoRo

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Sally Hackett graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 2012 and specialises in sculpture, often combining ceramic form and drawing to create lively narratives, full of humour. Experimentation is important to Hackett, and she is interested to push the boundaries of her work, both in thematic content and technical production. Her work explores social behaviour. Previous projects have reflected on subjects such as public perceptions of ‘decency’, with a focus on human nudity, ranging from nudes as portrayed in masterpieces of art history, to portraits of contemporary nudity from ‘streaking’ to ‘naked rambling’.

For Edinburgh she specifically reflects on the under representation of younger generations within Edinburgh’s many monuments (predominantly commemorating venerable older men, and occasional much loved animals). In a new interpretation of The Fountain of Youth, Hackett’s ambitious ceramic work reflects on society’s obsession with the predictable advantages of youth such as beauty and health, but also hints at the disadvantages, for example the lack of power and agency. Hackett’s sculptural fountain references the supposedly miraculous or sacred properties of water (prominent within mythologies as a transformative entity); but also alludes to the commercial value that we place on youth enhancing substances – inspired in part by the fact that Hero of Alexandria (1st century AD) is reputed to have constructed the first ‘vending machine’ for the purpose of dispensing holy water.

With the participation of pupils from Tollcross Primary School.


Access Information:
The Fountain of Youth is located within the courtyard of the Museum of Edinburgh. There is full access from the Royal Mile with good links to public transport and cars can easily drop off outside with parking in city centre car parks. The pathway to the courtyard is cobbled and uneven so is advised that those with mobility issues take care. There are seats located within the courtyard. The Museum of Edinburgh has toilet facilities but due to the historic nature of the building access to this is by stairs only.
Supported by the Scottish Government Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, Event Scotland, Edinburgh Museums and Galleries and City of Edinburgh Council. 
Part of the 2016 Edinburgh Art Festival Commissions programme.


28 July – 28 August
Mon – Sat, 10am – 5pm
Sun (August only), 12 noon – 5pm
Disabled AccessToilets


Museum of Edinburgh
Huntly House
142 Canongate, Royal Mile,
Edinburgh, EH8 8DD