Ben Uri is delighted to be working in partnership with GARAS and Gloucester Museum and Gloucester City Council to present the exhibition Migrations: Masterworks from the Ben Uri Collection (3rd October 2019 — 28th January 2020). This important exhibition marks two significant anniversaries: the twentieth year of refugee organisation GARAS and the introduction of the Kindertransport which, between December 1938 and September 1939, brought some 10,000 Jewish refugee children to Britain.
Ben Uri’s own history is one of migration: founded in London’s East End in 1915 by Jewish Eastern-European émigré artisans working outside the cultural mainstream, who went on to form a significant collection of works by artists of British and European Jewish descent. Since 2000, the remit has expanded to include works by immigrants from a wide range of cultural, religious and geographical backgrounds. 2019 has also seen the launch of the newly formed Ben Uri Research Unit for the Study of the Jewish and immigrant contribution to the Visual Arts in Britain since 1900.
Migrations presents paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture from the Ben Uri Collection exploring three principal waves of migration to Britain: the first, reflects on the years 1880-1914, when immigrants of principally Jewish Eastern-European descent, settled in London’s East End, including Ben Uri’s founder Russian-Jewish émigré Lazar Berson, and members of the home-grown ‘Whitechapel Boys’, among them painters David Bomberg and Mark Gertler, and sculptor Jacob Epstein. The second wave reflects the artistic contribution of the so-called ‘Hitler-émigrés’, who, between 1933 and 1945, fled racial, artistic or political persecution in their native lands. This included both established artists, such as Martin Bloch, Hugo Dachinger and Margaret Marks, and younger refugees who went on to train and work in Britain, including Frank Auerbach and Eva Frankfurther, as well as Kindertransportees Kathe Strenitz and Harry Weinberger. The third wave reflects contemporary migration, with artists including painter Tam Joseph, photographer/performance artist Güler Ates and collagist Hormazd Narielwalla.