INPRNT values your privacy and strives to be transparent about how we collect and use your information.
Because you are an INPRNT artist, we need you to update or confirm some important tax-related information.
To use INPRNT as an artist, you must be at least 18 years of age.
Originally painted with acryla gouache on illustration panel.
"I laughed when my partner first told me how his entire generation born within the Kyiv region of Ukraine were born with an iodine deficiency. Iodine? That mineral most prominent in seafood, right? Maybe I found this revelation so hilarious because, of all the places I had visited in the world, no place else seemed to love seafood more than Ukraine, which is comical in its own right considering the geographical location of the country. Sure, the Crimeans and Odessans get to enjoy their direct access to the Black Sea.. but the capital city of Kyiv? It's nearly 500 km away from any body of saltwater. Yet, funny enough.. the very first thing I noticed when arriving to this country was how every third restaurant in Kyiv seemed to be a sushi restaurant or some seafood related spot, I kid you not. Ukrainian children are known to grow up practically inhaling ikra (caviar) with butter on their toast, and the grocery isles are packed full of at least 15 varying assortments of seaweeds to choose from. And with the vast variety of smoked and fresh fish alike available there, never had seafood become such a regular staple in my own diet until I began to live in the capital city. If anything, the amount of iodine shoved in the faces of the Kyiv people in their landlocked homeland is enough to rival the grounds of the Tsukiji fish market of Tokyo. And so then, why was it just his generation, those who were born in the '90's, riddled with this "deficiency?"
"Because of Chernobyl" he told me blankly. Now, if it wasn't for my research into the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 just weeks before I first came to Ukraine, admittedly this statement wouldn't have quite clicked with me. I, like most other foreigners, had only ever vaguely heard of this famous nuclear disaster. Exaggerated images of a glowing nuclear wasteland, the skin of the victims boiling over and all the birds dropping from the sky. Though, still a very tragic disaster that effected the lives of many thousands, I had learned the actual death toll directly resulting from the nuclear explosion was only counted at 31 people, more or less. But there was also the understanding that thousands more in the region would indeed suffer from longer-term effects such as fast developing cancers, specifically thyroid cancer, though I think the world will never know the true extent of the damage, much of it will always remain unknown. It's been said that the Chernobyl disaster remains to be the largest known radioactive release to ever occur in our recorded history, and though the radioactive isotypes released weren't as deadly as some may like to exaggerate, they were certainly much longer-lived and widespread than those released from a detonated atomic bomb. Long-lived enough, in fact, to contaminate 150,000 square kilometers around it, and much of which remains contaminated to this day.
So, what does iodine have to do with Chernobyl? The funny thing with iodine is that there are two common forms: the naturally occurring mineral humans need to survive (found in seafood and dairy, for example) called iodine 127, and then there's the unnaturally occurring and radioactive one called iodine 131.. primarily produced by nuclear reactors. An even funnier fact is that the human thyroid can't tell the difference between these two iodines.. the vital mineral and the radioactive, cancer inducing one.. and so it will absorb both just the same. And so, for the decades following the disaster, thanks to the release of this radioactive iodine 131.. thyroid cancer cases skyrocketed in the Kyiv region because the nearby soil and water sources were consequentially contaminated resulting in the unknowing consumption of iodine 131 throughout the region. And unfortunately, children under the age of 15 were the most effected, since their thyroids weren't fully developed and capable of fighting off the degenerative effects of the radioactive iodine exposure. And as for the pregnant women in the region.. those who weren't and never would be directly affected by this radioactive exposure.. it was their children developing in their wombs even years after the incident who became the direct targets, as they were still at a higher risk of being effected by this unknown iodine exposure at the time.
The only other modern nuclear disaster event that could be compared to Chernobyl would be the Fukushima Nuclear accident in Japan in 2011. Interestingly enough, thyroid cancer rates amongst the children of Japan compared to those of Ukraine were statistically lower for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the Japanese government were much more competent than the corrupt and disorganized Soviet Union, and were therefore able to react faster to their own nuclear catastrophe. But the most intriguing detail was the fact that the Kyiv/Chernobyl region is landlocked, and so iodine mineral deficiencies of the residents there were much higher in this region during the 1980's and 90's (especially since access to a varying diet was already limited to citizens of the Soviet Union) compared to Fukushima, where iodine deficiencies were already rare in Japan due to their large variety seafood-based diet. And believe it or not, the unfortunate irony with thyroids is that when the thyroid is already iodine deficient, it will try and compensate by attempting to absorb even more iodine than average, even if it's the toxic radioactive iodine 131. And so the already iodine deficient Ukrainians were simply walking magnets to any sort of exposure to radioactive iodine.
Anyway, if you've read this far into my ramblings, you may be wondering what my painting of a few silly fish with a gun, a hand, and a crab claw has to do with any of this. The objects within the fish.. their primary motive is to simply symbolize the concept of violence. Violence in the form of a gun, in the form of the hand of men, and nature's violent tendencies shown within the claw. When Ukrainians think back to 1986 and the Chernobyl disaster... they don't associate it with some "tragic accident" or "mistake." They view that day as just another line to add to the long list of horrors imposed on them by the Soviet Union. To Ukrainians, this was simply another act of violence done onto the Ukrainian people. Sure, this wasn't an intentional act (like the majority of their past violent acts ordered by Moscow), but it was the incompetence, hunger for complete control, and disorganization of the Soviet Union and Moscow that resulted in the explosion of the Chernobyl power plant. Aтd it was the Ukrainian people who suffered because of it. Chernobyl was a very special kind of violence, because it wasn't a quick form of it, but a slow burn. It was one that was drawn out.. forcing its victims to suffer the effects for decades and generations to come.
Nowadays, the potential for thyroid cancer in the Kyiv region has lately been improved and replaced with maybe a simple genetic iodine deficiency, and even that is easily curbed nowadays with supplements and maybe a.. seafood rich diet. We've finally reached the day and age where Ukrainians don't have to suffer as harshly as they once did from the fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But my ultimate intention with this painting is to show that, though the Soviet Union no longer exists and Ukraine had finally gained its independence.. this incompetent, negligent and violent regime still finds ways to remind Ukrainian people of their dark history and what their ancestors had to suffer through. And even for the children born into a free Ukraine, born 10 years after this nuclear disaster just like my partner.. they still hold onto the many forms of ancestral trauma that will always find a way to make themselves known in the smallest of ways. To remind them of the violence that still lurks in the shadows of their past. Even in the form of a simple iodine deficiency."
Kit Mizeres is a fulltime artist and backpacker, primarily working with gouache and watercolor while being on the road. She's eternally grateful to INPRNT for allowing her to stay on the move while still being able to provide prints of her silly works to art lovers with silly taste. Thank you!
Miniature full bleed prints with an optional maple wood stand. These mini prints are a perfect option for collecting your favorite work and easily putting it on display.