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In his largest composition “Refugees”, modernist Jēkabs Kazaks who, “like the old masters, wanted to work hard like a craftsman”, expresses the nations tragedy with true severity. He reveals it as the harsh story of a peasant family driven from their home during the First World War. Like a rock in the vertically formed expressive composition, the mighty figure of the grandfather rises above a low horizon – a symbol of strength; the image of the grandmother radiates the wisdom of the national spirit but the young mother with her suckling infant – the incessant drive of life. The refugees have an inner spite that does not allow them to submit to despair. These people leave an impression of spiritual and physical unbreakability; a single hope smoulders in their hearts – to return to their homeland. This monumental painting is regarded as one of the highest peaks of Latvia’s classical modernism.

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