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When Alva created this work in the year before the outbreak of the Second World War, he was experiencing his own exodus. This symbolic painting references both the ancient biblical account of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt and the artist’s own ‘forced journey’ from Germany.
In this scene the refugee procession is depicted without background or context, conveying a sense of both distance and desolation. The anonymity of the figures evokes the systematic mistreatment of an entire race under the Nazi regime and symbolises the turmoil of the Jews forced to leave their homes across Europe during the Holocaust.
oil on canvas
H 69.8 x W 90 cm
on loan from Mr and Mrs Alweiss, since 1996