Flight and Hope Exhibition
August 12 @ 10:00 am - December 22 @ 4:00 pm CDT
This exhibition explores themes of flight, journey, and migration through Samuel Bak’s oeuvre. His work, informed by his experiences as a forced migrant and refugee in the aftermath of World War II, offers a potent reminder of the humanity of migrants, their dreams of freedom, their flight from oppression, their search for home, and the fraught journey they undertake in the hope for a better life. As the poet Warsan Shire notes in Home, her response to the harsh reality if life as an undocumented refugee in Europe in 2009, “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” The exhibition paintings depict the ordeal of upheaval but also the hope and tenacity of those fleeing violence.
Flight and Hope will situate Bak’s works as part of a broader conversation about the status of refugees in 2023, the rising number of forced migrants across the globe, and the impact of changing demographics on the political discourse. Nebraska has been the new home for thousands of resettled refugees since the late 1970s, following conflicts in Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Syria. Refugees have built new homes, created communities, and businesses in our state, turning the state in a “global heartland.” Statistics and research often dehumanize the experience of forced migration. Bak’s paintings remind us that those undergoing this traumatic displacement are human; that individuals caught in conflict long for peace and a home; and that hope is, despite all odds, eternal.
The Samuel Bak Museum: The Learning Center is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 A.M. – 4 P.M., Thursday 10 A.M. – 6 P.M., and Sunday Noon – 4 P.M. The museum is closed on holidays and during UNO academic breaks.