Refugee Festival Scotland: Tears of Gold exhibition & meet the artist

Across Scottish Refugee Week the RSE will host Hannah Rose Thomas’ and her ‘Tears of Gold’ exhibition, telling the stories of displaced women through portraits.

Artist Hannah Rose Thomas’ exhibition Tears of Gold compiles her portraits of displaced women whom she has met over the last decade.

This exhibition collects her portrait paintings of Yazidi women who escaped ISIS captivity; Rohingya women who fled violence in Myanmar and Nigerian women who survived Boko Haram and Fulani sexual violence. Her most recent portraits are of female judges of Afghanistan; Ukrainian refugee women; an artist in the Gaza strip, and a Uyghur survivor of the re-education camps in Xinjiang, China.

Hannah met many of these women during her time organising art projects during which she taught women how to paint their self-portraits as a way to share their stories with the rest of the world. Many of the women chose to paint themselves with glistening tears of gold. Across Scottish Refugee Week visit the RSE and meet Hannah and learn the stories of the women featured in this exhibition.

Refugee Festival Scotland at the RSE

Across Refugee Festival Scotland, the RSE is hosting several events, including a week-long exhibition showcasing artwork from Hannah Rose Thomas. The RSE will also host a lecture in partnership with UNESCO on World Refugee Day alongside group discussions and the opportunity to experience an Eritrean coffee ceremony. 
Learn more here


A person posing for the camera
Hannah Rose Thomas


Hannah Rose Thomas

Artist and UNESCO RILA PhD Scholar

Hannah Rose Thomas is a British artist and a UNESCO PhD Scholar at the University of Glasgow. She has previously organised art projects for Syrian refugees in Jordan; Yazidi women who escaped ISIS captivity in Iraqi Kurdistan; Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi camps and Nigerian women survivors of Boko Haram. Her paintings of displaced women are a testament to their strength and dignity. These have been exhibited at places including the UK Houses of Parliament, European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Buckingham Palace, GCHQ, FCO, Lambeth Palace, Westminster Abbey and The Saatchi Gallery. Her exhibition ‘Tears of Gold’ was featured in the virtual exhibition for the UN’s Official 75th Anniversary, ‘The Future is Unwritten: Artists for Tomorrow.’ Hannah was selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 2019 Art & Culture; shortlisted for the Women of the Future Award 2020 and selected for Vogue Future Visionaries 2022.

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Wednesday June 21st - Friday June 23rd, 2023


The Royal Society of Edinburgh




Hannah Rose Thomas