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After Chernobyl Offers Window into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

The Soviet Arts Experience continues this spring with a new photo exhibition at the Harper Memorial Library entitled After Chernobyl: Photographs by Michael Forster Rothbart. In commemoration of the Chernobyl disaster and the lives affected by it, the University of Chicago’s Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES) issued a special invitation on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident (April 26th, 2011).

This exhibition of photographs documents the everyday lives of some of the millions of people who continue to live and work within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which is still contaminated by radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion. Michael Forster Rothbart is a photojournalist, whose projects explore the human impacts of environmental change; the photographs in After Chernobyl were taken during his Fulbright year spent in the Ukraine.

From TimeOut Chicago:

“We’d been thinking about the upcoming anniversary in Chernobyl, and we wanted to do something to highlight what’s happened since,” says “After Chernobyl” exhibit organizer Andrew Graan, outreach coordinator at University of Chicago Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies. “The unfortunate incident in Japan has made it all the more relevant. So many lessons will surely be applicable. ”

Fortunately, the research and photographs also paint a picture of human resilience. “It’s not merely shots of the hospital,” Graan notes. “It’s people actually living with hope. People managed to live and survive and find joy.”

After Chernobyl is on view at the Harper Memorial Library Commons, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public.  To learn more about the exhibit please click here.

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