Slavic and East European Maternal Studies Network
An AHRC-funded network based at the University of Exeter (UK) and the University of Vilnius (Lithuania) bringing together researchers in Maternal Studies and Slavic and Eastern European Studies.
In particular, you might be interested in Dr Hanna Chuchvaha's recent blog on the use of maternal images to explore and process the trauma experienced following the Chernobyl disaster.
Hanna recently published this article, “Memory, Trauma, and the Maternal: Post-Apocalyptic View of the Chernobyl/Chornobyl/Charnobyl Nuclear Disaster”, in East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies. Her paper focusses on how artworks by Belarusian and Ukrainian artists over the last two decades have used maternal images to explore and process the trauma experienced following the Chernobyl disaster.
Abstract for “Memory, Trauma, and the Maternal: Post-Apocalyptic View of the Chernobyl/Chornobyl/Charnobyl Nuclear Disaster”: Chornobyl/Chernobyl/Charnobyl has a symbolic meaning for several generations of east Europeans. It is a city that experienced a disastrous nuclear explosion in 1986 that bequeathed a post-apocalyptic landscape and an eloquent demonstration of the Anthropocene. The epistemological crisis for humanity provoked by the Chornobyl nuclear disaster led to the emergence of post-Chornobyl art, an art of acceptance and denial, an art of physical and emotional trauma, an art that symbolized humanity’s responsibility for the future. This paper focuses on art works produced in the first two decades after the explosion at the Chornobyl nuclear plant. The range of art pieces examined in this paper is diverse, from representational art to conceptual installations. The article is an attempt to analyze the trend of post-Chornobyl art created by witnesses of the tragedy. They are Belarusian and Ukrainian artists for whom Chornobyl epitomizes the point of non-return, the overwhelming tragedy of their people, and the devastation of their land; and for whom Chornobyl is an inverted metaphor of the legitimacy of peaceful atom and the results of the Anthropocene. The paper employs Griselda Pollock’s theoretical approach to trauma and focuses on the art of the maternal created by artists of both genders.