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From the 1930s to the 1950s a large number of forced European migrants – refugees from Nazism, people displaced by World War II, and escapees from communist countries – arrived in New Zealand. Among them were an extraordinary group of artists, writers, photographers, and architects, whose European modernism radically reshaped the arts in this country.
Ranging across the arts, from photographer Irene Koppel and art dealer and printmaker Kees Hos to architect Imric Porsolt and writer Antigone Kefala, Strangers Arrive introduces us to these talented 'aliens' who were critical catalysts for change in New Zealand culture. It asks: How were they received? How did displacement transform their work? And how did the arrival of these European modernists intersect with this country's flourishing nationalist movement in the arts?
Leonard Bell is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Auckland. His writings on cross-cultural interactions and representations in the work of travelling, migrant, and refugee artists and photographers have been published in New Zealand, Britain, the United States, Australia, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
His books include Marti Friedlander (2009), Colonial Constructs: European Images of Maori, 1840-1914 (1992), In Transit: Questions of Home and Belonging in New Zealand Art (2007), and Jewish Lives in New Zealand (2012) co-authored with Diana Morrow.
Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930-1980, by Leonard Bell.
Published by Auckland University Press. Hardcover, illustrated, 310 pages.