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Art at the Institute in cooperation with The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) in Chicago is pleased to present "Chornobyl: Artists Respond," a special exhibition of original prints commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Organized by Walter Hoydysh, PhD, Curator and Director of Art at the Institute, and Stanislav Grezdo, Curator at the UIMA, the exhibition includes thirty works on paper by thirty selected artists from the Chicago metropolitan area. Opening on April 7, 2017, the exhibition will remain on view through April 30. An opening reception will take place on Friday, April 7, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

On April 26, 1986, Reactor no. 4 of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in Prypiat, Ukraine exploded, resulting in the worst peace-time nuclear disaster the world has ever witnessed. Two plant workers died on the night of the accident, and another 28 people, including first responders, died within a few weeks as a direct result of acute radiation poisoning.

The World Health Organization stated that a total of up to 4,000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure and thousands others from cancer related illness due to the Chornobyl disaster.

Even after numerous years of scientific research and government investigation, there are still many unanswered questions about the Chornobyl accident — particularly regarding the long-term health impact that the massive radiation leak has on those who were exposed, their offspring, and the environmental after-effects on generations to come.

The UIMA invited 30 Chicago-based artists to participate in the project — each artist to create an original print in an edition of 40. The prints shown in this exhibition reflect a long history and tradition of utilizing the graphic arts to reflect and communicate socio-political messages and issues of historical and contemporary importance. Coming from diverse cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds, the artists commissioned were challenged to address the project deliberating on their personal and global observations and judgements, with subsequent interpretation of the Chornobyl disaster.

The resulting artworks illustrate a range of motifs and themes, from scenes of the Chornobyl plant accident site and its immediate aftermath, to commentary on its current state and weighty correlation to other worldwide nuclear risks and accidents.

The artists’ viewpoints are as varied as the means they employed in the execution of their prints, from traditional relief, intaglio, lithographic, and screenprint techniques, to methods of additive coloring and material applications.

While the exhibition and the portfolio are composed of a multitude of unique voices and perspectives, they are all united in a collective tribute. Though the Chornobyl accident occurred 31 years ago, what’s demonstrably clear is that the disaster and its memory are just as potent today as the time of the catastrophic accident.

A fully-illustrated catalog was designed and produced by Stanislav Grezdo in conjunction with this exhibition.

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