Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art

14 Dec 19–1 Mar 20

Price: Regular price £6.95 Sale

Book online today and save over £1 on adult admission tickets. Please note: your ticket also grants access to Africa State of Mind. Purchasing a Gift Aid ticket will enable us to claim an extra 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate. With your support, people of all ages can be inspired by our exhibitions and creative activities. To enable us to claim Gift Aid, please give your full name, first line of address and postcode at the checkout. By purchasing this ticket you agree that you have read our Gift Aid Declaration.


This major touring exhibition is a timely exploration of the impact of migrant artists on art in Britain, taking a perspective across the last 150 years.

The migration of creative individuals and groups has always been a source of innovation and cultural cross-fertilisation.. This exhibition looks back to the crucial influence of émigrés who came from eastern and central Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. It explores how they were perceived by their peers in Britain and the extent to which their influence excited or inspired new art including artists such as Joan Eardley, Josef Herman, Ben Nicholson and Kurt Schwitters. It also explores the temporary exile of refugees from the Franco-Prussian War, the First World War and forward to the present, when the reception of refugees from war-torn Iran, Iraq and Afhanistan and their contributions to British life remain contentious.

Exhibited artists include Martin Bloch, Naum Gabo, Humberto Gatica, Mona Hatoum, Barbara Hepworth, Samira Kitman, Heinz Koppel, Josef Koudelka, Hanaa Malallah, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Lotte Reiniger, Zory Shahrokhi and Walid Siti.

Many of the artists present extraordinary and deeply moving stories of escape from dispossession, persecution, torture, intellectual oppression and war. The welcome for foreign artists has not always been positive and has included critical hostility, financial difficulties, personal tragedy and even internment, yet they have often exerted a remarkably direct influence on British contemporaries.

A substantial book by Peter Wakelin, published by Sansom & Co. will accompany the exhibition. Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art tells the stories of émigré artists and their contribution to British art. Many tell deeply moving stories of escape from dispossession, persecution, torture, oppression and war. Special exhibition price of £17.50 (RRP £20) available from the RWA shop. 

Exhibited artists:

Jankel Adler, Dobrivoje Beljkašić, Ernst Blensdorf, Martin Bloch, Bill Brandt, Frank Brangwyn, Chien-Ying Chang, Siegried Charoux, Robert Colquhoun, Jules Dalou, Joan Eardley, Cheng Wu Fei, Hans Feibusch, Stanislaw Frenkiel, Naum Gabo, Humberto Gatica, Hilde Goldschmidt, György Gordon, William Goscombe John, Esther Grainger, Mona Hatoum, John Heartfield, Barbara Hepworth, Josef Herman, Samira Kitman, Frederick Könekamp, Heinz Koppel, Fritz I. (Fred) Kormis, Josef Koudelka, Peter Lanyon, Peter László Peri, Hanaa Malallah, Felix H. Man, Else Meidner, Ludwig Meidner, George Minne, Claude Monet, Ben Nicholson, Leonid Pasternak, Constant Permeke, Peter Potworowski, Lena Pillico, Camille Pissarro, Lucien Pissarro, Adèle Reifenberg, Lotte Reiniger, Will Roberts, Valerius de Saedeleer, Kurt Schwitters, Zory Shahrokhi, Walter Sickert, Walid Siti, Willi Soukop, Wolfgang Suschitzky, Edith Tudor-Hart, Fred Uhlman, Marianne Von Werther, Ernest Zobole

Related Events

Gallery Tours: Every Tuesday within the exhibition dates,12-12.30pm. Led by a member of the RWA staff or a volunteer. Free with your exhibition ticket. Book now on this page.

After Hours at the RWA: Thursday 20 February 2020, 7-9pm. Grab your friends (and your free drink) and enjoy three separate exhibitions after hours at the RWA, including Africa State of Mind, Refuge and Renewal and Small Things Bright and Beautiful (18+). BOOK NOW 

Refuge and Renewal exhibition tour with curator Peter Wakelin: Tuesday 25 February 2020, 12-1pm. Join Dr Peter Wakelin on a guided tour exploring the lives and works of émigré artists in Britain. Free with your exhibition ticket. Book now on this page.

Image credit (1): Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), La Route, effet de neige (detail), 1879, oil on canvas. New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester, UK. Reproduced courtesy of Leicester Arts and Museums Service. © Artist's Estate. Photo © Leicester Arts & Museums / Bridgeman Images / Image credit (2):  Martin Bloch (1883–1954), Miracle in the Internment Camp (detail), 1941, oil on canvas, 68.6 x 78.7cm © Martin Bloch Trust. Photo credit: Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge
Part of Insiders/Outsiders, a nationwide arts festival taking place throughout 2019 to celebrate refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture 

Insiders Outsiders Festival Logo


Opening times

This ticket may be redeemed any day that we are open within the exhibition dates (14 Dec 19–1 Mar 20).

Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm
Sunday 11am-5pm
CLOSED Mondays
Last admission 30 minutes before closing. The RWA occasionally closes early for special events. Please call ahead or check the website for details.

Christmas Opening Hours:

Closed 24, 25 and 26 December, reopening 27 December
Closed 30, 31 December and 1 January, re-opening 2 January
Closed Mondays


Ways to Pay

ONLINE TICKETS: Save over £1 on adult admission tickets by booking online at least 12 hours before your visit. Simply show your email order receipt to reception to gain entry. Please note that each ticket can only be used once. 

RWA ART PASS: The Art Pass allows you to visit any RWA exhibition, as many times as you want, for one whole year. 

ON THE DOOR: 

Adults: £7.95 (includes an 80p donation) £6.95 online
Concessions: £6.75 (includes a 70p donation). Pay on the door
Under 18s/SGS, UoB & UWE students: FREE
RWA Art Pass Holders: FREE Purchase an Art Pass
Friends of the RWA: FREE Join today
National Art Pass holders: 50% discount on ticket price. Pay on the door


Gift Aid Declaration: Purchasing a Gift Aid ticket will enable us to claim an extra 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate. By purchasing a Gift Aid ticket you agree that you have read and agree to the following Gift Aid Declaration:

Please treat this entry ticket to the RWA as a Gift Aid Donation. I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year, it is my responsibility to pay any difference.   

Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art Gallery

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