Czech Routes is the fourth in Ben Uri's series of exhibitions designed to highlight the contribution of émigré artists to Britain since 1900, succeeding previous exhibitions on German, Polish and Austrian artists (2017-18). This occasion also marks the opening of the museum's extensive art library and archives to the public. All are key components of the Ben Uri Research Unit (BURU) and its accompanying extensive research programme exploring and recording the contribution of Jewish and immigrant artists to Britain since 1900.
Featuring the work of 21 painters, printmakers and sculptors, many of whom fled to Britain as racial and political refugees from National Socialism, Czech Routes marks the 80th anniversary of Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia on 15th March 1939 (the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia's northern frontier, having already ceded to Germany on 10th October 1938). Nazi occupation resulted in mass displacement, and by December 1939 nearly 12,000 refugees from Czechoslovakia were resident in Britain. Of those registered with the Czech Refugee Trust Fund, some 67% were Jewish.