Rick Shaefer: The Refugee Trilogy

Piece from the Refugee Trilogy

Rick Shaefer: The Refugee Trilogy

Traveling Exhibition


The Fairfield University Art Museum is pleased to present the inaugural exhibition of a monumental new series by artist Rick Shaefer created in response to the ongoing refugee crisis convulsing the globe. This three-piece suite is comprised of Land Crossing, dealing with the migration across foreign lands; Water Crossing, addressing the perilous journeys of refugees who take to the open seas; and Border Crossing, spotlighting the hostilities refugees face in seeking safe haven far from a violence-torn homeland. The trilogy employs the artistic lexicon of old master painting (specifically incorporating heroic figurative elements from works by Rubens and Géricault) to explore this contemporary crisis in a language both familiar and iconic. Such historical allusions underscore the tenacious persistence of this epic human tragedy throughout time, past and present.

In addition to the three triptychs, each executed in charcoal on vellum, the exhibition includes seventeen of Shaefer’s preparatory drawings for the series.

Audio clips were created by refugee and relocated youth, and their teachers, who found inspiration in Shaefer’s work. The participating students attended the Ubuntu Academy, a summer literacy lab hosted by the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University that brings teachers and students together to write. Listen to our mobile app at app.cuseum.com/fuam.

Listen to an interview on WPKN with artist Rick Shaefer.


Read about the exhibition in Venü Magazine (pages 52–55).


Read an article about the exhibition in the Stamford Advocate.



Fairfield University Art Museum, Walsh Gallery, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT; September 7 – October 22, 2016

Haggerty Museum, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; October 5, 2017 – January 15, 2018

Brigham Young University Art Museum, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT; May 18, 2018 – September 29, 2018

Hand Art Center, Stetson Univeristy, DeLand, FL; August - October 2019

Plattsburgh State Art Museum, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY; August 30 – December 10, 2021


For more information, please contact:

Carey Mack Weber
Frank and Clara Media Executive Director
Fairfield University Art Museum
(203) 254-4000, ext. 2499