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Exhibitions mark 30th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster

Shows in Prague and Chicago expose the fallout of the world's worst nuclear accident

Today (26 April) marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine. The German photographer Gerd Ludwig has visited the abandoned site and its surrounding area nine times over the past 20 years to document the lives of survivors, the deserted town of Pripyat nearby, and to venture inside the abandoned nuclear reactor. More than 100 photographs from his project “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl”, published last year as a book, will go on show in Prague at the Galerie Zahradnik on 12 May (until 10 July).

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago has organised two commemorative exhibitions: a selection of multimedia works for Chornobyl: Impact & Beyond (which uses the Ukrainian spelling for the city) and a series of commissioned prints by Chicago-based artists entitled Chornobyl: Artists Respond (both shows run 1 April-29 May). “What's surprising is the number of artists who are countering the disaster's inherent darkness with works infused with positivity”, says the institute’s business manager, Robin Dluzen. For artists such as Karolina Kowalczyk and Yhelena Hall, “Chernobyl is more about nature reclaiming the man-made devastation and turning it into a hopeful future.”