The woman who paints insects

Beyond Nuclear International

Swiss artist, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, finds and draws bugs deformed by Chernobyl and other nuclear accidents and exposures

By Claus-Peter Lieckfeld

We speak of “dumb creatures” because animal utterances are largely incomprehensible to the human ear. But animals can show us things. And if you know how to look, they might even give you warning signals. Bugs, for example, give warnings where human perception fails. But to understand those warnings, you have to learn how to read their signals.

You can find the insect drawings of the Swiss artist and scientific illustrator, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, in museums and galleries all over the world. Most of them reflect (and praise) the breathtaking beauty of the insect realm. But their beauty can be deceptive.

Cornelia bugs 1In 1987, one year after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Hesse-Honegger came across deformed leaf bugs in areas of Sweden that had been hit hard by fallout from Ukraine. She sensed…

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The woman who paints insects

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