Refuge and Renewal – Press Release

3 March 2020

MOMA Machynlleth
Mon – Sat
10am – 4pm

At a time when more refugees than ever before have been forced from their homes worldwide, a major exhibition about the role of refugee artists in British art from 1870 to the present comes to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Machynlleth.

The most ambitious exhibition in MOMA Machynlleth’s history has been developed in partnership with the Royal West of England Academy and brings together important works from public and private collections including Tate, V&A, Ben Uri Art Gallery, National Museum Wales and the National Library of Wales. Thousands of people are expected to visit the exhibition at the gallery, which was recently highlighted in the Guardian’s 10 best rural art galleries in the UK.

The exhibition, which features over 70 artworks across four galleries, looks back over the last 150 years to explorehow migrantartists were perceived by their peers in Britain and how their influence excited or inspired new art. It explores the temporary exile of refugees from the Franco-Prussian and First World wars and the crucial influence of émigrés who came from eastern and central Europe during the 1930s and 1940s, while looking forward to the present when the reception of refugees from war-torn Iran, Iraq and Syria and their contributions to British life are more contentious than ever. It recounts extraordinary and deeply moving stories of escape from dispossession, persecution, intellectual oppression and war as well as fascinating interactions with British artists.

Amongst the artists included in the exhibition are French Impressionists Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro who sought refuge from the Franco-Prussian War, artists who came to Britain in the First World War such as Lucien Pissarro, George Minne and Valerius de Saedeleer and British artists who helped them, W. R. Sickert and Frank Brangwyn. At the centre of the exhibition is the extraordinary impact of émigrés from Nazi-dominated Europe, explored through works by Naum Gabo, Kurt Schwitters, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon, Josef Herman, Heinz Koppel, photographers Edith Tudor-Hart and Bill Brandt and the animator Lotte Reiniger. More recent artists represented include Josef Koudelka, Samira Kitman, Hanaa Malallah and Mona Hatoum.

The exhibition’s guest curator, Dr Peter Wakelin, says,

Years ago I was drawn in by the stories of two artists who escaped to Britain from Nazi Europe, Josef Herman from Poland and Heinz Koppel from Germany, who had a profound impact here. It’s been a privilege to work on this exhibition and the accompanying book and look back over 150 years to get a perspective from Monet to Mona Hatoum. Refugees and émigrés have made extraordinary contributions in all walks of life – medicine, science, publishing, business, music as well as art. But opportunities have been missed at times when refugees and émigrés haven’t been engaged with by their contemporaries, so I hope the exhibition holds useful lessons for the future too.

Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art is accompanied by a full-colour publication from Sansom and Company, which will be for sale at the exhibition.

A lunchtime talk by Dr Peter Wakelin will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 8 April and a seminar bringing together expert speakers to explore the themes of the exhibition will take place on Saturday 9 May.

Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Artis open Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 4pm, from 14 March to 6 June 2020. Admission is free.

Generously supported by The Richard and Ann Mayou Fund, The Lambert Family Charitable Trust and the Friends of The Tabernacle. Part of the Insiders/Outsiders Festival (, a nationwide arts festival celebrating refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture.


Emily Bartlett, MOMA Machynlleth, 01654 703355
Dr Peter Wakelin, guest curator, 07910 518042


Sample images below. High resolution files are available on request.










Claude Monet (1840 – 1926), The Thames at London, 1871, oil on canvas, 48 x 74cm
Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales












Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), La Route, Effet du Neige, 1879, oil on canvas, 46.5 x 56.5cm. New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, UK.
Reproduced courtesy of Leicester Arts and Museum Service
Photo: © Leicester Arts & Museums / Bridgeman Images














George Minne (1866 – 1941), Small Wounded Boy, 1898, bronze, 25 x 10 x 7cm
By kind permission of The Gregynog Trust













Valerius de Saedeleer (1867 – 1941), Untitled, c.1916, oil on canvas, 37 x 43cm
Collection of Rex Harley















Edith Tudor Hart (1908 – 1973) Two Young Miners, c.1935, photograph
National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
© Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky














György Gordon (1924–2005) Mother on her Deathbed, 1956, oil on canvas, 36 x 29 cm.
Gift of the Estate of György Gordon, 2017, University of Leeds Art Collection
© Artist’s Estate.













Heinz Koppel (1919–1980) Sari, 1959, tempera and oil on canvas, 153 x 102 cm.
Koppel family © Artist’s Estate










Ernest Zobole (1927-1999) Untitled, c.1960, oil on canvas, 80 x 122 cm
Private collection © Artist’s Estate












Mona Hatoum (b.1952) Measures of Distance, 1988, colour video with sound, 15 minutes 35 seconds. A Western Front Video Production, © the artist









Dobrivoje Beljkašić, Memories of Sarajevo, 1993, Acrylic, 75 x 53 cm.
Photo: Lily Wildgoose













Humberto Gatica (b.1944) Destino (Fate), 2000, silver gelatin print, 28 x 25 cm.
collection of /© the artist










Zory Shahrokhi (b.1963) Masks; Veil #4,2002, photograph.
collection of /© the artist










Hanaa Malallah (b.1958) Shroud IV, 2012, mixed media and soft sculpture on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.
collection of /© the artist













Samira Kitman (b.1984) Islamic Art Geometric Design, 2013, tempera on paper, 35 x 35 cm.
collection of /© the artist














Refuge and Renewal, Migration and British Art, Book cover
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), La Route, Effet du Neige, 1879, oil on canvas, 46.5 x 56.5cm. New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, UK.
Reproduced courtesy of Leicester Arts and Museum Service
Photo: © Leicester Arts & Museums / Bridgeman Images


Notes for the Editor.

The Museum Of Modern Art, Machynlleth (MOMA, Machynlleth) is part of the Machynlleth Tabernacle Trust, established on 18th March 1986 as a charitable company limited by guarantee. Initially its activities were confined to promoting concerts in the newly refurbished former Wesleyan chapel, principally by means of an annual Festival starting in August 1987 and continuing every year since. At the same time The Trust started to build up a permanent collection of works of art and MOMA, Machynlleth (initially MOMA, Wales) was established in 1991. The trust has overseen several acquisitions, conversions and developments over the years, resulting in the current complex which includes a well- used auditorium and several high-quality gallery spaces. 

MOMA Machynlleth has the benefit of being part of year-round cultural activities alongside the exhibition programme including:

  • the annual Machynlleth Festival which celebrates traditional Welsh culture plus jazz, classical music and international artists.
  • cultural activities, independently promoted, including literature, Welsh and other language classes, art classes, lectures, public meetings and the Machynlleth Comedy Festival.

Full accreditation was received from MALD in January 2016 and exhibitions attract national and international interest, often featuring leading artists from Wales and works from the Tabernacle collection.

The centre continues to expand and is currently looking to develop an adjoining building as a purpose-built store for the growing art collection.