Today marks the 30th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. In the early hours of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (formerly part of the Soviet Union) exploded. The explosion tore through Chernobyl’s No. 4 reactor, near Pripyat, Ukraine, more than 30 people died and countless others have died from radiation symptoms since.
The Ukraine government evacuated some 135,000 people from the area and the 19-mile exclusion zone around the plant will remain uninhabitable for human habitation for at least 20,000 years!
Today the area is still a ghost town, wildlife has returned, however animals with high levels of cesium-137 in their bodies have been found, stunted trees and conjoined flowers are reminders of the disaster.
To acknowledge the 30th anniversary street artist Guido van Helten went to Chernobyl, Pripyat (the city-ghost, exclusion zone) and never done before, he completed a mural inside a reactor!! This unique project was organised by ArtUnitedUs and curated by Geo Leros, Iryna Kanishcheva, Waone Interesni Kazki, Ilya Sagaidak.
Australian artist Guido Van Helten, working in his photorealistic style, created the painting from a photograph taken by renowned photojournalist Igor Kostin, famous for first documenting the disaster as it happened in 1986 and over time documented its destruction. His brave efforts exposed him to five times the acceptable level of radiation, and he was inflicted by illness related to this exposure. He died in 2015. The work was created with assistance from the Chernobyl district authorities inside disused and unfinished Chernobyl Reactor 5, which was under construction at the time of the accident.
“I wanted to create a work that honoured the sacrifice Igor Kostin made in the documentation of this disaster and for the importance of photojournalism as a medium of sharing of information with the world and in this case, showing the extreme dangers Nuclear energy can have.” Guido van Helten
Check out these awesome photos by Geo Leros below of this extraordinary art work being painted by Guido Van Helten.
Need more!! Filmmaker Geo Leros from Ukraine documented the creation of the work with a short film to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster which injured and displaced 100,000’s of people in the years following.
“This movie is not just about the mural, it’s a story about Igor Kostin, about a journalist who battled everyday to put his life in danger to share with us this information, it’s the story about the strong people who fight with this disaster” Geo Leros
This is one unique project disaster to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Nuclear catastrophe, Congratulations to all involved!