Refugees have always been overlooked but are prevalent throughout history. Refugee artists have contributed to making our society beautiful. Through art as a form of expression, refugee artists have been able to tell the untold story of the refugee experience. Arts4Refugees calls to focus on post-conflict communities and the talent within it.
Each new cohort of refugees is commonly treated as exceptional. Refugees have become a fact of life in the modern world and have always maintained a presence in history.
Josef Herman was a Jewish-Polish artist. Herman fled from Poland to Britain during the mass persecution of Jews during the Holocaust in 1938. Herman settled in Wales, where he stayed for eleven years. Though Herman had escaped the Nazi invasion and the later atrocities, he lost his entire family during the Holocaust. Herman’s artistic style was shaped by the working-class Welsh mining community. This includes his most famous piece 'Three Miners'. Herman has said, 'I stayed here because I found all I required. I arrived a stranger for a fortnight. The fortnight became eleven years.'
Herman changed public perceptions of the coalfield and inspired the work of younger artists. Herman was granted British citizenship through naturalisation in 1948. In 1981, Herman was awarded with an OBE for services to British Art and was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1990.
Herman had fled the state-sponsored systematic persecution of Jews. An estimated 600,000 family and individual refugee cases have been documented following the Holocaust. Of which, only 80,000 were successful. Herman became a part of the Welsh community. Herman had contributed to society through the medium of art. Herman created a new life when everything had been taken from him. Josef Herman's story is not universal, it is exceptional.