Art will spread to all corners of the earth and beyond, proven here by these captivating, touching and even haunting images of graffiti around the abandoned area of Chernobyl Ukraine. The artists who created these works are as mysterious as the area itself, leaving behind stencils of small children as ghostly reminders of the vibrant life that once existed here. The images are the works of photographer Jan Smith, who has explored the nooks and crannies of the abandoned city, discovering other artists works tucked into its hidden corners.
I have to say that the first time I ran across the history of the infamous Chernobyl disaster, I was hooked for days. The story of the once vibrant area of the Ukraine and its showcase city Pripyat is a gripping one. Following the meltdown of Chernobyl’s main nuclear reactor and its ultimate explosion, the surrounding area and its city was evacuated. What was once a star example of modern Soviet design and community, transformed in a matter of days into a ghost town. Fearing the spread of radioactive contamination, most of the local population left their belongings behind, creating a time capsule of soviet life from Saturday April 26th, 1986.
The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles, crippling the Soviet economy. The disaster and its resulting coverup has been credited as a catalyst for glasnost and with the ultimate dissolution of the soviet government. It’s a sobering reminder of the incredible power and ultimate vulnerability of nuclear power, one that we are once again observing at Fukushima in Japan.