A major exhibition about the role of refugees in British art since 1870 opens in Montgomeryshire this weekend.

The Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth has described the exhibition as “the most ambitious in its history” having developed it using works from collections including the Tate and the V&A.

Thousands of people are expected to visit Refuge and Renewal: Migration and British Art, after it opens this Saturday, March 14. Entry is free, and the exhibition will run between 10am and 4pm Mondays to Saturdays, until June 6.

The opening event will hear speeches from 12 noon on Saturday by artist Iwan Bala, and exhibition curator Dr Peter Wakelin.

Among the artists included in the exhibition are French Impressionists Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro who sought refuge from the Franco-Prussian War, artists who came to Britain in the First World War such as Lucien Pissarro, George Minne and Valerius de Saedeleer and British artists who helped them, W.R.Sickert and Frank Brangwyn.

Emigres from Nazi Europe are also considered, including in works by Kurt Schwitters, Barbara Hepworth, and the animater Lotte Reiniger.

“Years ago I was drawn in by the stories of two artists who escaped to Britain from Nazi Europe, Josef Herman from Poland and Heinz Koppel from Germany, who had a profound impact here,” said Dr Wakelin.

“Refugees and émigrés have made extraordinary contributions in all walks of life – medicine, science, publishing, business, music as well as art. But opportunities have been missed at times when refugees and émigrés haven’t been engaged with by their contemporaries, so I hope the exhibition holds useful lessons for the future too.”

The exhibition is part of the Insiders/Outsiders Festival, a nationwide arts festival celebrating refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture.