This handprint measures 5×5 inches and comes ready mounted into an 8×8 inch white mount and ready to be framed. It has been crafted on a gloss finish photographic paper and hand printed by the artist in a traditional photographic darkroom. The image is from the e/utopia series by Mara.
Print comes mounted but unframed.
In 1986, Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded releasing radioactive waste into the atmosphere that spread across Europe reaching the United Kingdom within days. The Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev later referred to the disaster as a ‘turning point’ in the Soviet Union that ‘opened the possibility of much greater freedom of expression, to the point that the system as we knew it could no longer continue.’
The population was evacuated and an ‘exclusion zone’ created displacing an estimated 340,000 people. Given the political landscape and the long-term nature of low-level radiation exposure, it is difficult to estimate fatalities with various figures up to 1 million premature deaths being quoted in scientific papers. It is doubtful the true cost will ever be known.
My own journey through ‘the Zone’ included visiting the Nuclear Power plant site, the city of Pripyat built to house the workforce and their families, and farming communities in the area, all of which had been evacuated. As I wandered through empty decaying streets and buildings it was difficult not to feel the presence of the ghosts of those long gone. Their echoes still remaining in places they had once called home. Blink and it felt as if it was only a twist of fate that had placed them in that position instead of me.
Whilst there is undoubtedly a melancholy in the Zone, it also filled me with hope. Hope that nature would recover from the folly of man, even if humans we were no longer present because life in all its beautiful splendour was.