Throughout history, people have flocked to areas because of war, government corruption, religious conflicts or natural disasters.

The forced displacement of these individuals or refugees continues in the world today.

In 2018, the number of people who had been forcibly coerced to leave their home and country as a result of persecution, violence or human rights violations worldwide reached 70.8 million, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The number of people displaced increased by 2.3 million people from the previous year, a record high.

Artist Rick Shaefer’s reaction to the international refugee crisis is featured in his large-scale, charcoal triptych drawings that portray people of ancient times fleeing by land or water and experiencing the conflicts at borders in three thematic, panel scenes. The gigantic triptychs are created in the baroque-art style and each art piece measures 96 inches by 166 inches.

Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center will display 20 of Shaefer’s charcoal-and-pencil drawings in “Rick Shaefer: The Refugee Trilogy” exhibit Aug. 16-Oct. 14 with an opening-night reception Friday, Aug. 23 from 6-8 p.m.

Complimentary parking is available in the East Arizona Avenue parking lot off of Amelia Avenue and visitor parking spaces throughout campus. Exhibits at the Hand Art Center are free and open to the public.

The exhibit, which is organized by the Fairfield (Conn.) University Art Museum, correlates with Stetson’s Values Day Tuesday, Sept. 24. This year’s theme is “Activism through the Arts.”

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