A child born in the Chernobyl zone without legs and abandoned by his parents. Vesnova Mental Asylum, Belarus.
Photographer Jenny J. Norris’s images of Chernobyl “Liquidators” and developmentally disabled children born in Chernobyl following the nuclear meltdown 25 years ago, are part of an exhibition and event series taking place at the Ukrainian Institute in New York City through April 26, 2011, in remembrance of the anniversary of the disaster.
Norris first became interested in creating a series of images about Chernobyl through her personal work teaching art and photography to children in impoverished areas around the world.
Many of the children and young adults there were born in Chernobyl after the disaster, and though Norris says that staff at the asylum do not say explicitly that the developmental disabilities of the residents are radiation-related, there is an unspoken assumption.
While at Vesnova, Norris showed residents how to make pictures, printing out their work for them on a portable printer she brought. “They were practically tearing the photos I gave them because they were so excited,” Norris recalls.