The Independent

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mary Dejevsky: The food police have got at my pizza

A fragment of Ukrainian artist Vasily Sad’s ‘Aftermath’ (1986) inspired by the Chernobyl disaster. He offered the gift of one of his works to Japan but it was declined

A bitter tinge to an unhappy anniversary

Next week’s 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster has gained resonance because of the failures at Fukushima following the tsunami in Japan. But the focus of commemoration will be in Ukraine, where the experience of Chernobyl exacerbated the centrifugal forces in the Soviet Union, helped inspire Ukraine’s demands for independence, and now constitutes an intrinsic part of its post-Soviet national psyche.

This was a theme at an exhibition held at the Ukrainian Embassy in London, featuring the work of Odessa-based artist Vasily Sad. But the exhibition had an unexpected little coda. Sad had created a work, Revival of Japan, derived from his major 1986 metalwork, Aftermath – Dedication to Chernobyl, but in a more optimistic tone, and hoped to make a gift of it to Japan. After consideration, though, it was turned down. You can understand why Japan might not want too close a parallel to be drawn with Chernobyl, but it still seems a pity to decline a gift so well meant.

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