Michael Forster Rothbart Photo Exhibit

If you lived near Chernobyl, would you stay?

Madison photographer Michael Forster Rothbart has returned from a year in Chernobyl. He received a U.S. Fulbright Scholarship to photograph and interview Ukrainians who remain in villages near Chernobyl a generation after the 1986 accident.

After Chernobyl, an exhibit of Forster Rothbart's documentary photographs, will be displayed at various locations in both Madison, WI and on the East Coast during 2011. The exhibit reveals daily life for Chernobylites, including residents who chose to stay in the Chernobyl-affected region and liquidators, veterans of the massive Soviet clean-up after the accident.

Download the article "Chernobyl lives"

"Most visitors think Chernobyl is a place of danger and despair, and so this is what they photograph. For me, however, Chernobyl tells a story about endurance and hope," says Forster Rothbart. "I created this exhibit because I want the world to know what I know: the people of Chernobyl are not victims, mutants and orphans. They are simply people living their lives, with their own joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. Like you. Like me."

Forster Rothbart was a staff photographer for University of Wisconsin-Madison for six years and worked previously as an Associated Press photographer in Kazakhstan. During the past year, he lived in Sukachi, Ukraine, a small farming village just outside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. He also spent time in Slavutych, Ukraine, the city built after the accident to house evacuated Chernobyl plant personnel.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Madison Arts Commission and FOCCUS (Friends of Chernobyl Centers, U.S.), a Madison-based non-profit that works with community centers in the Chernobyl region. Meuer Art & Picture Frame Co. and UW-Madison CREECA (Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia) also contributed to the exhibit.

For an on-line version of the exhibit and the opportunity for you to post your comments, please visit www.afterchernobyl.com.

"After Chernobyl" Photo Exhibit Schedule:

  • January 30, 2011 - February 12, 2011 - "After Chernobyl" photo exhibit by Michael Forster Rothbart at the Christ Church Episcopal in Old Town Alexandria, VA
  • February 13, 2011 - March 13, 2011 - "After Chernobyl" photo exhibit by Michael Forster Rothbart at the Cedar Lane UU Church in Bethesda, MD
  • April 1, 2011 - April 30, 2011 - "After Chernobyl" photo exhibit by Michael Forster Rothbart at the Madison Public Library - Central Branch
  • April 19, 2011 - May 8, 2011 - "After Chernobyl" photo exhibit by Michael Forster Rothbart at the Ukrainian Institute in New York City
  • May 1, 2011 - June 1, 2011 - "After Chernobyl" photo exhibit by Michael Forster Rothbart at the Madison Public Library - Ashman Branch
 

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