Image: Pripyat Hospital by Claire Baker
This year has seen a host of events take place to mark the 30th anniversary of the terrible nuclear accident in the Ukraine. An exhibition at Middlesbrough’s House of Blah Blah from Thursday 1st December until Thursday 12th January, sees work by the 26:86 Collective of artists depict their interpretation of such a devastating event.
The group of Northern artists and designers travelled to the Ukraine in March this year with the aim of investigating the real time issues at the site. Triggered by their experiences, the work that has been produced is a chilling testament to the disaster, telling of the radioactive waste that still remains at the site, the mass evacuations of Chernobyl and nearby city of Pripyat, now an eerie ghost town, and the long-term psychological and emotional effects. The exhibition will encompass a variety of formats, from textile art conceptual pieces to creative graphic design and documentary photography by Teesside artists including analogue photographer and fine artist Alyson Agar, graphic artist Laura Baker, visual artist and graphic designer Nicola Golightly, textile artist Claire A Baker, stencil artist Niall Kitching, photographer Lucy Baker and avant-garde designer Gavin Vaughan among others from Manchester and Lincolnshire.
It’s significant that the exhibition is taking place in Teesside, with the recent announcement of the nearby Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station having its life extended. An additional exhibition is planned at Hartlepool Art Gallery at the end of 2017 which hopes to educate and inform residents of nearby Seaton Carew about the long term problems associated with nuclear power generation.
Ultimately, it’s hoped that the exhibition will raise awareness of the all-too relevant issues regarding nuclear energy today, and pose questions about its use and ultimate cost.