Hartlepool artist is behind touring Chernobyl exhibition

Inside the Chernobyl power plant control room number 2.
Inside the Chernobyl power plant control room number 2.

A touring exhibition of the legacy of Chernobyl will come to Hartlepool next year, following the 30th anniversary of the disaster later this month.

Tuesday, April 26, will mark exactly 30 years since the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Inside the Chernobyl power plant control room number 2.

Inside the Chernobyl power plant control room number 2.

But a group of artists aims to show how its legacy lives on with the exhibition 30 Years On – Chernobyl Exposed.

It will feature numerous works of art inspired by a recent emotional visit to Chernobyl in Ukraine by the group called 26:86 Collective – referring to the day and year of the disaster.

Project leader Claire Baker, who works as a lecturer at Cleveland College of Art and Design in Hartlepool, and Gavin Vaughan, who lives in the town, were part of the group that witnessed Chernobyl’s devastation and long-lasting effects.

Various works of art inspired by the visit will be featured in the touring exhibition, which will make its final stop at Hartlepool Art Gallery next year.

Claire said: “The exhibition will be multi-disciplinary. There will be large-scale photography, graphic art, posters – it should be quite exciting.”

Claire, who specialises in textile art, is working on a 6ft by 6ft representation of a room after it had been evacuated.

The exhibition is due to tour the region between November this year and the end of 2017.

Hartlepool has been specially chosen as the final stop because of the town’s nuclear power station.

Claire added: “We wanted Hartlepool to be our last venue because of its proximity and links with the nuclear power station.

“The exhibition is to try to raise awareness of the effects of Chernobyl and issues which are still really relevant.

“For example, there are links to the displacement of 250,000 people with the current Syrian refugees.

“Also the UK has more stored chemical waste than anywhere else in the world.

“It is about all these problems caused that get passed on to the next generation and make people think a little bit more.”

The project has had external funding from the Arts Council and The Artists Information Company.

Thirty-one people lost their lives after the explosion at Chernobyl, in the Ukrainian town of Pripyat, and the area is still uninhabitable due to the high levels of radiation.

This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.