On the eve of departure: Homelessness, exile and art by Edmund de Waal
Delicate porcelain vessels stand on a shelf, obscured by frosted glass. These vessels tell a story. A story of homecoming.
For world-renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal that story is personal. He is the son of a refugee.
In 1939 his Jewish father, then just a boy, aged nine, fled Vienna with his uncle. Their home had been ravaged by the Nazis. Carrying nothing with them but a single suitcase, they gained visas and sought sanctuary in England.
Perhaps inevitably, ideas of homelessness, exile and belonging have long influenced Edmund’s works, which are displayed in galleries across the world.
So when the Sheffield alumnus and honorary graduate learnt about the University of Sheffield’s long-standing tradition of welcoming refugee staff and students, he wanted to do something to honour it.
He offered the University a gift. A new piece of art called fetched home – inspired by a line in a poem by Jewish German poet Paul Celan called Homecoming.
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