Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal (b. 1964) is known for the way his practice spans both visual and literary disciplines. The New Art Centre exhibits a permanent installation of his work in our Artists House gallery.


Much of De Waal's work is centred around the contingency of memory: bringing particular histories of loss and exile into renewed life. Both his artistic and written practice have broken new ground through their critical engagement with the history and potential of ceramics, as well as with architecture, music, dance and poetry. De Waal continually investigates themes of diaspora, memorial, materiality and the colour white with his artworks.


In March 2020, De Waal opened a second iteration of his library of exile at the British Museum London. This intervention followed the first presentation of the project at the Venice Biennale in 2019. Consisting of a pavilion of 2,000 books, written by those forced to leave their own country or exiled within it, library of exile marks one of De Wall's most ambitious projects to date.


Other recent museum shows include elective affinities at The Frick Collection, New York (2019); --one way or other-- at the Schindler House, Los Angeles (2018); white island at MACE, Ibiza (2018); Morandi / de Waal at Artipelag, Stockholm (2017); and during the night, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna (2016).


From 2013-2015, a series of projects and events were held to coincide with the publication of The White Road: a pilgrimage of sorts in 2015, including white at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2015) and On White at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2013).


Among his major installations on permanent display are Signs & Wonders (2009) at the V&A Museum, London and an idea (for the journey) (2013) at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.


De Waal is also renowned for his bestselling memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010), which won many literary prizes including the RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Costa Biography Award and has been translated into over 30 languages. In 2016, it was chosen as the Independent Bookshop Week's Book of the Decade. Other titles include The White Road (2015), The Pot Book (2011), 20th Century Ceramics (2003) and de Waal's critical study on Bernard Leach for Tate (1997).


De Waal was made an OBE for his services to art in 2011. In 2015 he was awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction by Yale University. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of the Arts London, Nottingham, Sheffield, York and Canterbury Christ Church universities and is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. De Waal is on the Advisory Committee for The Royal Mint and is a Trustee for the V&A Museum, the Gilbert Trust and The Saturday Club Trust. He is also a Patron of Paintings in Hospitals.