ATOM Project Honorary Ambassador Featured in BBC Video
February 20, 2017
The ATOM Project Honorary Ambassador, renowned artist and global antinuclear weapons activist Karipbek Kuyukov was featured Feb. 17 on the homepage of the BBC’s video news.
In the video, Kuyukov, who was born without arms as a result of his parents’ exposure to Soviet era nuclear weapons testing in what is now Kazakhstan, describes the horror villagers felt witnessing these tests and the lifelong difficulties that resulted.
“She remembered that the earth the really rose up to the sky. That frightened them,” Kuyukov says in the video remembering the stories told to him by his mother.
What Kuyukov was describing were just a few of the 450 nuclear weapons tests by the Soviet Union at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site near what is now the city of Semey. More than 1.5 million Kazakhs have been affected by those tests with many suffering early death, lifelong debilitating illnesses and horrific birth defects, which continue to this day. The United Nations now honors Aug. 29 annually as the International Day against nuclear tests in honor of the date in 1991 when the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was finally shut down.
Kuyukov, however, has overcome his challenges to become a renowned artist who paints with his teeth and feet and who has dedicated his life and art to the nonproliferation movement and victims of nuclear weapons testing. His most recent works can be viewed at http://www.theatomproject.org/en/about/nuclear-weapons-testing-effects/the-art-of-truth/
He also travels the world as Honorary Ambassador to The ATOM Project, a global effort initiated by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2012 to permanently end nuclear weapons testing and bring about a nuclear-weapons-free world. Kuyukov displays his artworks and urges government leaders, parliaments and organizations to seek a nuclear-weapons-free world. The ATOM Project online petition (http://www.theatomproject.org/100K/) has amassed more than 310,000 signatures worldwide.
“I think the more non-governmental organisations and parliamentarians who want to join us, the better for us. Our voice will be stronger; in fact, only acting together can we reach our common goal,” he said recently.
“I am an optimist by nature. I have to be, because I don’t think I have a choice. Therefore, everything I do, all the goals I set for myself, in the end, I achieve them. This year, The ATOM Project will get more votes and we will speak louder about the consequences of nuclear tests. Especially at this time, when the threat is as real as never before, from terrorists and people who are inclined to use nuclear weapons, they keep the people around the globe in fear. That’s why I believe The ATOM Project must reinforce its efforts and continue calling on the people to get to the bottom of this – a world free of nuclear weapons,” he said.