Refugee mixed media by Ronald Rae

Recycled wood and found objects 50″ x 36″ x 12″ N.F.S.
Location: St Mark’s Unitarian Church, Edinburgh.

Ronald Rae constructed this piece in 1980 when he was carving his Abraham sculpture in the grounds of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. At that time he was very aware of people less fortunate than himself. This sad little refugee with her worn suitcase says it all. The sculpture was out of circulation for many years then turned up at an Amnesty International Conference and found its way to St Mark’s where it is greatly loved and takes part in various events in the church throughout the year.

A past minister at St Mark’s, Andrew Hill wrote the following poem about the Refugee comparing it to Ronald Rae’s granite sculptures that were in Holyrood Park at the time.


Dung Beetle’s belly is solid and hard
your refugee’s runs soft as lard

Bison, bison firm and strong
your refugee just tags along

Highland Cow stalled warm in granite
your refugee cold roams the planet

Tyger Tyger still burns bright
your refugee has nothing to light

Bear living free on rocky heights
your refugee knows only plights

Mother and Child held firm in stone
your refugee is all alone

Boy with Calf carved now forever
your refugee hasn’t even whenever

Horse and sculptor for ever as one
your refugee is always undone

Wild Boar with a severed snout
your refugee has nought but nowt

Sheep wool warmed on granite crag
your refugee is bones and rag

Vulture and Carcass, chiseled bones clean
your refugee is grubby and lean

Fish and water swim free over rocks
your refugee sits lockedin in stocks

Flight into Egypt captured in stone
your refugee is always alone

Man of Sorrows weeps stone tears
your refugee has nothing but fears

Fallen Christ too heavy to rise
your refugee just lives and dies

Animals in War, granite rock hard
your refugee is string and card

War veteran’s honour, a special carved name
your refugee is just one of the same

Andrew Hill

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