Cleansed, 1994

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 16521
Art and Popular Design
Display status
IWM North
Production date
Place made
Great Britain
  • Support: canvas
  • medium: oil
  • Support: Height 1828 mm, Width 2436 mm
  • Frame: Height 1903 mm, Width 2513 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: painting

© IWM (Art.IWM ART 16521)

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Object description

image: A group of Muslim refugees sit by the side of a road outside a village. The figure on the left has his open palms outstretched; they carry few possessions but for a couple of bags. United Nation peacekeeping soldiers and vehicles patrol in the background.


Peter Howson went to Bosnia as an official war artist to record the work of the UN peacekeeping forces. The Muslim refugees here had been driven at gunpoint from their homes by Croatians. They were sheltered by a Muslim doctor before he was shot. They then sought refuge in a UN camp but were refused entry and told to travel with a convoy of tanks to a safe district. Howson depicts them at the side of the road, waiting for the convoy, hungry and desperate. The almost grotesque figures are reminiscent of the crowds in a Northern European crucifixion painting. Whereas the crucifixion offers a means of salvation and redemption, here there is no such hope or solace.

History note

Artistic Records Committee Commission, 1993

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