Suffolk-based artist and activist Ziggy Norton’s latest work twins the the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London with the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal.
We caught up with Ziggy to ask him about the inspiration behind his painting.
When did you first hear about the Bhopal gas disaster?
When I was still at school, I was around 13/14 years old and I remember watching the television news reports. In particular I remember a woman and her baby lying dead in the middle of the road, they had been trying to escape the poisonous gas. It’s a vision that has stayed with me all these years.
What are your thoughts on the Olympic sponsorship?
I heard nothing more about the disaster after school, but more recently found out that India are thinking of pulling out from competing in the Olympics. I wanted to know why and read all the information I could about it.
After the mess that was left, I was horrified to find out that the same company who are supposed to be responsible for clear up operation at Bhopal, are sponsoring the Olympics.
I find it hard to think about the Olympics now without thinking about Bhopal. The two are linked in my head.
What inspired your painting?
The picture stemmed from travelling to and from London on the train. I would pass the Olympic site being built in Stratford. As it was under construction, with basic structures and frameworks, it came together in my imagination and that’s how I visualised my art.
Ziggy frequently uses his art to raise awareness of various causes. He is particularly interested in nuclear and environmental hazards. Other work includes a piece linking Suffolk’s Sizewell Nuclear power station with Chernobyl.
More of Ziggy’s work can be seen at Image2Glass
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