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Exhibition: Remember Chornobyl! In Italy

 

On April 26 2006 Europe commemorated the 20th anniversary of the worlds worst human-made disaster  on that day, twenty years before, Reactor 4 at the Chornobyl nuclear power complex exploded during a routine safety test. The explosion sent a plume of radioactivity a mile high to drift over Europe and as far away as Japan. Between 50 and 250 million curies of radiation, approximately equal to 100 medium-sized atomic bombs, was unleashed. Independent scientific studies have estimated that between 30,000 and 250,000 people have died so far as a result of the disaster.

 

Lyubava MALYONA gives a brief account about her visit to an exhibition devoted to Chornobyl, which was held in Italy.

 

An international Chornobyl conference was held in Kyiv at the end of April which was attended, among other dignitaries, by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko. All kinds of reports were made by the guests and attendees who emphasized the global character of the disaster and urged action to be taken to make the future of the ruined reactor secure.

In the blessed country of the arts, Italy, the tragic event was commemorated by an exhibition which used images rather than words to bring home to those who cared to come to see the exhibition the terrible warning that Chornobyl gave. The exhibition which was open from March 11 through April 4, was displayed at a sixteenth-century villa in Vicenza which was designed by Andrea Palladio (15081580, an Italian, regarded as the greatest architect of 16th-century northern Italy and one of the most influential figures in Western architecture. This in itself greatly increased the impression that the exhibition made upon the visitors.

The exhibition, 19862006: Remember Chornobyl!, was organized by the Association Il Ponte-Mist; the design and concept was provided by the Design Gallery Aratta (Khrystyna and Anatoly Haydamaka). A great care was taken not to do any damage to Palladios superb creation and to actually use to maximum advantage the architectural features of this amazingly beautiful architectural landmark provided.

A long alley leading from the southern gate to the villa itself was lined with crosses which were made of the road signs with the names of those Ukrainian villages which were badly affected by the radioactive contamination, and consequently their inpatients were evacuated.

At the end of the alley there stood The Ark of Hope  a wooden boat filled with toys and drawings of the children evacuated from the Chornobyl exclusion zone.

The porch of the villa had a representation of The Chornobyl Cross fixed to it. The Chornobyl Cross was a name given to a tree which actually grew in Chornobyl and which was spared during the cleanup operation for its cross-like shape. Delicious looking red but deadly radioactive apples hung from the branches of the tree.

On the facade were displayed traditional Ukrainian embroidered towels, and inside the villa the visitors could see pictures showing everyday life in the villages that are no more  the pictures were displayed against the background of the sixteenth-century frescoes.

In the central hall of the villa, the ceiling carried The Black Angel  a composition made up of black and white photographs depicting various tragic events in Ukraine in the twentieth century  WWI, revolution, civil war, Great Famine, WWII, horrors of Stalin totalitarianism, and Chornobyl disaster. At the doors leading from room to room of the villa where other exhibits, including the photographs of the 2004 Orange Revolution, were displayed stood effigies of guards in gas masks wearing protective suits.

One of the halls of the villa was hung with paintings by Larysa Myshchenko, Khrystyna and Anatoly Haydamaka. Documentary films about the Chornobyl disaster and its consequences were also shown.

Leaving the villa, the visitors could see The Tree of Life  a tree with embroidered towels hanging from its branches and photographs of people whose destines had been affected by the Chornobyl disaster standing on the ground around it.

 

Photos are from Design Gallery Arattas archive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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