A Kazakh painter taking a stand against nuclear testing across the world
Karipbek Kuyukov is a Kazakh artist and activist who was born without arms due to the fact that his parents were exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons testing in Kazakhstan. He uses his art and platform as Honorary Ambassador for The ATOM Project to help bring awareness of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons testing.
Karipbek Kuyukov was born in 1973 in the small town of Yegyndybulak in Eastern Kazakhstan, approximately 60 miles from where the Soviet Union conducted around 450 nuclear tests between 1949 and 1989. Karipbek was born without arms due to the fact that his parents were exposed to radiation from the nuclear tests that were conducted not far from their home.
When he was a bit older, Karipbek’s father took him to Leningrad Prosthetics Institute to learn more about prosthetics and get Karipbek prosthetic arms to help him improve his quality of life. Karipbek ended up studying and getting his diploma in Leningrad, but could not get used to the prosthetics.
However, during his studies, Karipbek felt drawn to art. He always loved to draw since he was a small child, but something compelled him to further pursue his love for painting. Of this, Karipbek says:
Of course, since Karipbek aims to bring awareness to the devastation of nuclear weapons testing, it is no surprise that he has dedicated his life to producing artwork, many pieces of which are inspired by the negative effects of nuclear testing. Many of his pieces include images of mushroom clouds or portraits of people like himself who were physically effected by radiation.
Here are a few examples of artwork by Karipbek Kuyukov:
You can view more of his artwork here.