ATOM Project Hon. Amb. Kuyukov advocates for nuclear non-proliferation, presents his art in UK
September 17, 2019
The ATOM Project Honourary Ambassador Karipbek Kuyukov shared Sept. 8-15 his message of nuclear disarmament and artwork depicting the horrors of nuclear weapons testing to parliaments and officials around the United Kingdom.
Kuyukov is among more than 1.5 million Kazakhs impacted by more than 450 nuclear weapons tests conducted by the Soviet Union at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in what is now Kazakhstan. The site was shut down Aug. 29, 1991 under the decree of Kazakhstan’s First President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Aug. 29 was unanimously adopted in 2009 by the United Nations as the annual International Day against Nuclear Weapons Testing.
Kuyukov was born without arms as a result of his parents’ exposure to those tests. He has since become an internationally recognised nuclear disarmament activist and a renowned painter who has dedicated his life and art to achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world. Since 2012, he has been the Honorary Ambassador of The ATOM Project, a civic initiative launched by Nazarbayev to end nuclear weapons testing and achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world.
Kuyukov’s trip was in part meant to mark the August 29 International Day against nuclear testing.
“Kazakhstan should be particularly commended for bringing home in such a real way the humanitarian consequences of testing and of nuclear war, because you got the UN, including the U.K., to unanimously support the establishment of this day, which is a major step on the road to recognising the absolutely disgusting nature of the most inhumane weapon you can imagine,” said Member of the House of Lords and Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) Baroness Susan Miller at an event with Kuyukov.
Kuyukov also travelled to Edinburgh to unveil three new paintings at the Scottish Parliament.
Scottish Parliament Member William Kidd, who is a Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) said he was proud “to welcome such a famous artist, who raises awareness of the terrible dangers to humanity of nuclear weapons and nuclear testing, into the Scottish Parliament.”
“His paintings are done with such skill whilst evoking deep emotion. To hear Karipbek’s powerful statements and view his remarkable paintings was something that no one who was there will ever forget,” he added.
Kuyukov also noted he felt great support for the disarmament effort in Scotland.
“We feel great support here in Scotland,” Kuyukov said. “The people of Scotland also do not want to have nuclear weapons, as the Clyde Naval Base is located directly 40 kilometres from Glasgow, a large and densely populated city. They do not want to have weapons either on their territory or on the territory of Great Britain as a whole.”
Kuyukov’s paintings were also on display in Manchester where he participated in a seminar on the humanitarian costs and dangers of nuclear weapons in the campaign for peace organised by the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and the U.K. and Ireland Mayors, Provosts and Leader for Peace Chapter.
Kuyukov presented two new paintings dedicated to the atomic bombings in Japan. The painting titled “Hiroshima” depicts a child watering a single plant after the explosion among the ruins.
An exhibition of Kuyukov’s paintings was also held at the Representative Office of the Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan in London. The event included a screening of “Where the Wind Blew” documentary about nuclear weapons testing in Kazakhstan and the U.S.
Kuyukov’s visit to the U.K. followed the International Day against Nuclear Tests and was organized by The ATOM Project with the support from the Embassy of Kazakhstan in London and PNND.
Kuyukov said during his trip that he was honoured to be able to share his artwork as a way to urge people around the United Kingdom and the globe to seek a nuclear-weapons-free world.
“Pictures help me to show pain and demonstrate my vision of the world as a victim of nuclear tests and, thereby, stir emotions in people,” he said.