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Radon Gas, Elementary School Classroom

Patrick Nagatani

(Chicago, 1945 - October 27, 2017, Albuquerque)

1990

Ilfocolor print

20 in. x 24 in. (50.8 cm x 60.96 cm)

Gift of George Stephanopoulos

2008.146

More Information

Radon is a cancer-causing, naturally occurring radioactive gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. It is formed through the normal radioactive decay of uranium and is responsible for the majority of public exposure to radiation. His son Met, pictured throughout the Nuclear Enchantment series, is seen here in his first-grade classroom. While the students appear normal, the teacher is surrounded by a green aura signifying radon gas. Nagatani uses children to suggest a higher consciousness and the vulnerability of the human race. In the classroom is a poster of the life cycle of the butterfly, an insect that can symbolize the soul, resurrection or the interconnectedness of all actions in the universe.

Keywords
Children
Color
Nuclear
Photomontage
United States