‘There are key words which are important for me,’ Veronica Ryan (b. 1956, Plymouth, Montserrat) told historian Sheena Wagstaff in 1993, ‘residues, traces, memory, deposits.’ Since these early stages of her career, Ryan has mined these psychological repositories, reforming the uncovered psychological sediment into sculptural objects and assemblages that reflect the natural world around her. Making reference to fruits, seeds and vegetables, as well as the containers and modular units used to transport them, Ryan positions her work at the midpoint between oppositional principles: interior and exterior, absence and presence, material and object memory.

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Ryan’s interest in organic forms has remained constant since the 1980s. An early sculptural ensemble, Attempts to Fill Vacant Spaces (1986), comprises an octet of bronze pods nesting plaster flowers and husks; the Carrara marble block of Mango Reliquary (2000) is set with 20 mango stones covered in lead foil. In 2021, Ryan unveiled in Hackney, London, large bronze and marble outdoor works Custard Apple (Annonaceae), Breadfruit (Moraceae) and Soursop (Annonaceae), as the nation’s first permanent sculpture to celebrate the Windrush generation. For this, and Ryan’s critically acclaimed 2021 solo exhibition ‘Along a Spectrum’, at Spike Island, Bristol, Ryan was nominated and won the 2022 Turner Prize.

But while Ryan has frequently drawn upon this natural taxonomy, she has refused to define the specific connotations of such forms. Seed pods and fruits have been used interchangeably to allude to the historic circulation of produce and people; to cycles of life, death and rebirth; to concerns over environmental breakdown; as well as notions of personal history, intergenerational exchange and inherited trauma. Shack Shack (2018), a clutch of skeletal pods bound in fishing line, speaks to the acceptance of pain that recovery requires. Ryan’s works, writes Rachel Spence, ‘[are] so faithful to their physical roots yet resistant to obvious narratives.’

This fluidity of meaning is exemplary of the manner in which Ryan’s ideas float through her distinct bodies of work: everything is connected, all is in flux. (When discussing her broad practice, Ryan references the interconnectedness of root systems: ‘I think I have a subterranean way of thinking.’ ) It is for this reason that, even when Ryan reorients her focus from organic matter to man-made objects, she remains attentive to the residue and accretion of experienced life.

For ‘Compartments/Apart-ments’ (1992), Ryan’s 1995 exhibition at Camden Art Centre, London, and her first solo project since the birth of her daughters, she filled a series of cast baby-wipe boxes with an accumulation of hair, fingernails and dust. (Curator Natalie Rudd writes of this almost archaeological presentation as a ‘radical process of emptying out’ .) ‘The idea of containment and the container has been one of the essential concerns of my work’, Ryan notes, ‘capsules, divisions, compartments, all are metaphors for wider issues of dissociation, fracture, displacement, alienation’ .

In 2014, the 21 works that made up Ryan’s Camden Arts Centre exhibition were destroyed in a storage facility fire in London; Ryan described the erasure as a ‘rupture’. But ruptures can be resolved: for ‘Along a Spectrum’, Ryan’s 2021 survey at Spike Island, Bristol, certain conversations that were initiated at Camden were roused once more. For Holding Nets (2020-21), containers and paper plates were bound in netting and stored in a shelving unit; Not a Singularity (2020-21) saw doilies, orange peel, volcanic ash and other materials stacked around steel and glass tables. This subtle act, one of material and theoretical reconstitution, is indicative of Ryan’s broader process of dredging up and sifting through formative moments of lived history; of revisiting and learning from that which was lost – or that which lingers.

Ryan’s desire for order and resolution is evident in her tendency to stack, gather and bind objects together, as it is in such fabric works as Tidal (2020), Hang (2019) and Hung (2019). Ryan was first taught to sew by her mother, a skilled quiltmaker; now, she views the act of stitching as a means to metaphorically suture disconnected times. (‘The backstitch is a way to connect the past with the present’, she notes. ) But, as is often demonstrated by her work, reconciliation is complex: to stitch is to repair and puncture at once.

In a discussion with curator Jenni Lomax ahead of the exhibition ‘Donachie Rhodes Ryan’ at Freelands Foundation in 2019, Ryan spoke of her tendency to transport indiscriminate objects: ‘If you were to go through my bags, you would find all sorts of odd things: mango stones and some kind of date pit.’ She continued: ‘I’ve actually managed to germinate a date pit. […] I’m just excited about seeing whether it’s possible to germinate things outside of their natural climate.’

This curiosity over acclimatory responses to changing environments runs through Ryan’s practice as a whole: she positions personal objects, known forms and embedded memories within new contexts in order to assesses what they might become. It is a study of how things persist; how things develop; the sustenance they might one day provide. ‘I’ve always carried things around’, she says. ‘Heavy bags.’

  1. Veronica Ryan and Sheena Wagstaff, Veronica Ryan: The Wood Street Gallery, 1993, (Pittsburgh: Three Rivers Arts Festival, 1993)
  2. Rachel Spence, ‘Fruits of experience — the subtle work of Veronica Ryan’, Financial Times, 13 May 2021
  3. Conversation with Alison Jacques Gallery, 27 April 2021
  4. Natalie Rudd, ‘Attempts to Fill Vacant Spaces: The Early Work of Veronica Ryan’, Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum (Bristol: Spike Island, 2021), pp. 8–23, p.15
  5. Veronica Ryan, Compartments/Apart-ments (London: Camden Arts Centre, 1995) p.5
  6. Conversation with Alison Jacques Gallery
  7. ‘In Conversation with Veronica Ryan and Jenni Lomax’, Freelands Foundation, London, 9 July 2019

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Magnolia / Magnoliaceae, 2021

Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Installation view, Hepworth Wakefield, 2021. Courtesy: Hepworth Wakefield © Veronica Ryan; photo: Nick Singleton

Niche, 1997

Apple packing trays and plaster
35.6 x 51 x 33 cm (14 x 20 x 13 in)
Courtesy: Paula Cooper Gallery, New York © Veronica Ryan

Hang, 2020

Stained cotton sheet, avocado stones and hairbands
224 x 106 x 1.5 cm (88 1/4 x 41 3/4 x 5/8 in) – from museum to be checked!
Courtesy: Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and Alison Jacques, London © Veronica Ryan; photo: Max McClure

Drift Seeds, 2019–21

Crocheted fishing line, cotton, plaster, clay, seeds and fruit skins
Dimensions variable
Courtesy: Spike Island, Bristol, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York and Alison Jacques, London © Veronica Ryan; photo: Max McClure

Multiple Conversations XVI, 2020

Cotton crochet and plaster
5.5 x 9.5 x 9 cm (2 1/8 x 3 3/4 x 3 1/2 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan


Clustered (Magnoliageae), 2021

9 Bronze Magnolia pods, fishing line and screw
61 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm (24 x 4 x 4 in)
Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and Alison Jacques, London © Veronica Ryan


Liminal Spaces, Feathers In Her Head, Sewing Seeds 2, 2019

Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Courtesy: Henry Moore Institute and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York © Veronica Ryan; photo: John McKenzie

Stack, 2017

White pillows, plaster cast and fruit tray
Dimensions variable
Courtesy: The Art House, Wakefield © Veronica Ryan

Protectors, 2017

Adapted Dexion shelving unit and quilted cushions
Dimensions variable
Courtesy: The Art House, Wakefield © Veronica Ryan; photo: Jules Lister

Punnet II, 2020

Recycled containers and soursop skins
15 x 50 x 50 cm (6 x 19 5/8 x 19 5/8 in)
Courtesy: Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and Alison Jacques, London © Veronica Ryan; photo: Max McClure

Exclusion Zones I, 2021

Metal shelf, wood, plaster, cocoa pods, pillow, sculpey, plastic net, string, crocheted cotton, rubber bands and lightbulb
Overall: 243.4 x 101 x 56.5 cm (95 7/8 x 39 3/4 x 22 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

Multiple Conversations XXIV, 2020

Teabags, tea and thread
4.5 x 18 x 16 cm (1 3/4 x 7 1/8 x 6 1/4 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

Garden of Your Mind III, 2021

Vegetable net, plaster and twine
12.7 x 30.5 x 12.7 cm (5 x 12 x 5 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan


Holding Stacks, 2020–21

Food containers, paper plates, soursop skins, bandage, net and other materials
Overall: 122 x 91.5 x 35 cm (48 1/8 x 36 1/8 x 13 3/4 in)
Courtesy: Spike Island, Bristol, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York and Alison Jacques, London © Veronica Ryan; photo: Max McClure

Multiple Conversations III, 2019-21

Plastic, custard apple seeds and ink
3.8 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm (1 1/2 x 9 1/8 x 9 1/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

Precarious, 2021

Locker shelves, cable ties, tea bags, fruit net, orange peel and cloves, fruit net, raffia, sculpey clay, mango stones in fabric and fishing line
63.5 x 52 x 27 cm (25 x 20 1/2 x 10 5/8 in)
Courtesy: © Veronica Ryan

  • Magnolia / Magnoliaceae, 2021
  • Niche, 1997
  • Hang, 2020
  • Drift Seeds, 2019–21
  • Multiple Conversations XVI, 2020
  • Clustered (Magnoliageae), 2021
  • Liminal Spaces, Feathers In Her Head, Sewing Seeds 2, 2019
  • Stack, 2017
  • Protectors, 2017
  • Punnet II, 2020
  • Exclusion Zones I, 2021
  • Multiple Conversations XXIV, 2020
  • Garden of Your Mind III, 2021
  • Holding Stacks, 2020–21
  • Multiple Conversations III, 2019-21
  • Precarious, 2021


A Curious Mind

Kemi Alemoru, Vogue

February 2023

Veronica Ryan, Barbara Walker And Roger Hiorns Newly Elected As Royal Academicians


February 2023

Veronica Ryan on the Turner Prize: ‘At 66, not winning would have been very difficult’

Hettie Judah, inews

January 2023

Veronica Ryan

Gilda Williams, Artforum

January 2023

The Year in Review: Frieze Editors on Art in 2022


December 2022

Another amazing year for female artists. So why are they still stifled and impoverished?

Hettie Judah, The Guardian

December 2022

At last the Turner prize gets it. Artists improve with age

Martha Gill, The Observer

December 2022

“Power! Visibility!”: Veronica Ryan, artist behind Hackney Windrush sculptures, accepts Turner Prize

Liz Gorny, It’s Nice That

December 2022

Turner Prize 2022: Who is Veronica Ryan, the oldest winner of the prestigious art award?

Emma Loffhagen, Evening Standard

December 2022

People wouldn’t show my work – or even reply to me’: Veronica Ryan on her Turner prize triumph

Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian

December 2022

Windrush sculptor Veronica Ryan awarded Turner Prize at ceremony in Liverpool

Anna Youssef, ITV News

December 2022

Turner Prize 2022 is awarded to sculptor Veronica Ryan, dividing critics

Natasha Leake, Tatler

December 2022

Veronica Ryan is a sensational choice as Turner prize-winner

Jonathan Jones, The Guardian

December 2022

Turner Prize: Windrush memorial artist Veronica Ryan wins for ‘poetic’ sculptures

Ian Youngs, BBC

December 2022

Veronica Ryan wins 2022 Turner prize for work including Windrush tribute

Nadia Khomami, The Guardian

December 2022

Veronica Ryan’s win is also a victory for the Turner Prize’s credibility

Mark Hudson, The Independent

December 2022

Turner prize shows art turning to experience over youth

David Sanderson, The Times

December 2022

Turner Prize Goes to Veronica Ryan, a Sculptor of Quiet Moments

Alex Marshall, The New York Times

December 2022

Veronica Ryan Wins the Turner Prize, the U.K.’s Most Esteemed Art Award

Alex Greenberger, ARTnews

December 2022

Veronica Ryan wins Turner Prize 2022

James Pickford, Financial Times

December 2022

Flotsam and Jetsam

Eloise Hendy, Plinth

November 2022

Veronica Ryan’s Flamboyant Fruit

Salena Barry, Frieze

October 2022

Veronica Ryan at Moncler – The Extraordinary Expedition


October 2022

Turner Prize exhibition 2022: speculative fiction, intimacy and untold histories

Martha Elliott, Wallpaper

October 2022

Turner Prize 2022 opens at Tate Liverpool

Mark Westall, FAD Magazine

October 2022

The Turner Prize plays it safe this year

Robert Barry, Apollo

October 2022

It’s Turner Prize Season! See the Four Ambitious Installations That the Nominated Artists Conjured Up for This Year’s Big Event

Vivienne Chow, Artnet News

October 2022

Turner Prize 2022 Exhibition Opens At Tate Liverpool


October 2022

Meet the Artists

Tate Etc.

September 2022

This is a Lip-smacking Turner Prize Shortlist

Adrian Searle, The Guardian

April 2022

Black Artists Lead Turner Prize Shortlist

Alex Marshall, The New York Times

April 2022

The Turner Prize has remembered why it exists

Cal Revely-Calder, The Telegraph

April 2022

Veronica Ryan’s celebratory fruit are a lesson in how to do public sculpture

Hettie Judah, The i newspaper

October 2021

The artist celebrating the Windrush generation

Ruby Tandoh, RA Magazine

September 2021

Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum

Kathryn Lloyd, Burlington Contemporary

August 2021

Veronica Ryan’s Botanical Musings on Migration

Anna Souter, Hyperallergic

July 2021

Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum

Hettie Judah, Art Monthly

July 2021

‘My parents’ trauma is my trauma’: Veronica Ryan on making first Windrush monument

Dale Berning Sawa, The Guardian

June 2021

The allusive sculptural work of Veronica Ryan

Imelda Barnard, ART UK

June 2021

Major Barbara Hepworth Exhibition Honours Pioneer of Modern Sculpture

Ruby Kitchen, The Yorkshire Post

May 2021

Veronica Ryan: ‘I don’t know anyone who makes art for art’s sake’

Louisa Buck, The Art Newspaper

May 2021

Sweeping survey to reveal the many sides of Barbara Hepworth

Chloë Ashby, The Art Newspaper

May 2021

Fruits of Experience: The Subtle Work of Veronica Ryan

Rachel Spence, Financial Times

May 2021

The Grand Reopening: The UK’s Best Exhibitions to See This Month

Hettie Judah, The i newspaper

May 2021

Technology drives the art trade

Melanie Gerlis, Financial Times

May 2021

The Best Public Art Shows to See this Year


April 2021

The grand reopening: our critics pick the best art shows for 2021

Kadish Morris, The Guardian

April 2021

Working Along a Spectrum: In Conversation with Veronica Ryan

Nancy Dewe Mathews, Focus

March 2021

What to Look Forward to in 2021

Amy Sherlock, frieze

January 2021

Hackney Council commissions Artworks to Commemorate Windrush

Emily Dinsdale, Dazed

June 2020

New London Sculptures Will Honour The Windrush Generation

Alice Cary, Vogue

June 2020

Sculptures Honouring UK’s Caribbean Immigrants to Be Unveiled

Gareth Harris, The Art Newspaper

June 2020

Sculptures honouring Windrush generation to be unveiled in London in 2021

Lanre Bakare, The Guardian

June 2020

The Must-See Exhibitions in New York This Autumn

Evan Moffitt, frieze

September 2019

After a Century of British Art Was Destroyed, This Artist Is Recreating Her Lost Works

Daisy Bernard, MutualArt

January 2019

Veronica Ryan: ‘I’m interested in the semantics of perception’

Veronica Simpson, Studio International

December 2017


Veronica Ryan

29 September 202221 January 2023


Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum

Spike Island, Bristol



Veronica Ryan

2023 School Prints programme at The Hepworth Wakefield

Veronica Ryan

in ‘If Not Now, When? Generations of Women in Sculpture in Britain, 1960 – 2022’, The Hepworth Wakefield

Veronica Ryan

Camden Arts Centre Gala

Veronica Ryan elected Royal Academician

Royal Academy of Arts, London

Veronica Ryan

in Sharjah Biennial 15: ‘Thinking Historically in the Present’

Veronica Ryan

Awarded Turner Prize 2022

Veronica Ryan

Awarded 2022 PSSA Marsh Award for Public Sculpture

Turner Prize 2022 winner Veronica Ryan

Turner Prize exhibition, Tate Liverpool

Veronica Ryan in conversation with Jenni Lomax

180 The Strand

Veronica Ryan in conversation with Lewis Dalton Gilbert

Tate Liverpool

Veronica Ryan in Whitney Biennial

‘Quiet as It’s Kept’ opens in April at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum

Spike Island, Bristol

Veronica Ryan Nominated for Turner Prize

The four shortlisted artists will exhibit their work at Tate Liverpool in October 2022

Veronica Ryan

in ‘Captured Beauty’, Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn

Veronica Ryan

in ‘Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945’, The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth and The Box, Plymouth

Ana Mendieta & Veronica Ryan

in ‘A Clearing in the Forest’, Tate Modern, London

Veronica Ryan in conversation with David Olusoga

Artist in Conversation, Art Fund

Veronica Ryan in conversation with Clarrie Wallis

‘At Home: Artists in Conversation’, Yale Center for British Art

Veronica Ryan in conversation with Sarah Victoria Turner

Sculpting Lives Podcast

Veronica Ryan

Hackney Windrush Commission

Veronica Ryan awarded OBE

The British artist has been named in the Queen’s birthday honours list recognising outstanding achievement

Veronica Ryan Appears on BBC Radio 3

Ryan features alongside Shahidha Bari, Jennifer Higgie, Adjoa Osei and Lydia Yee on ‘Free Thinking’

Lygia Clark & Veronica Ryan

in ‘Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945’, Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition, UK

Veronica Ryan

in ‘Portable Sculpture’, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

Veronica Ryan

in ‘Donachie Rhodes Ryan’, Freelands Foundation, London

Veronica Ryan

in ‘Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life’, The Hepworth Wakefield

Alison Jacques Gallery Now Represents Veronica Ryan

The British artist’s inaugural exhibition will open in Summer 2022

Veronica Ryan in conversation with Danielle Radojcin

The Collector’s House Podcast

Tate Acquires Veronica Ryan Work

Sculpture purchased at Frieze London thanks to Endeavor fund


Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum at Spike Island

At Home: Artists in Conversation: Veronica Ryan and Clarrie Wallis

Veronica Ryan: I’m interested in contradiction and paradox’ – Turner Prize Winner 2022