Whanganui's A Gallery is hosting a nuclear-themed exhibition by local visual artist Lynn Hurst, with work from as early as 2006 on display.
Hurst said her interest in nuclear testing and its consequences began when she was a child.
"My first big painting on canvas, when I was about 16, was of a nuclear explosion and a foetus," Hurst said.
"There was a little 2001 'A Space Odyssey' going on I think.
"Disasters always seem to creep into my work, no matter what."
Hurst said her fascination was due in part to growing up in the United States when nuclear testing and events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis were present in the public's conscience.
"I can remember my mother telling me that if I saw a big flash in the sky I should run to the nearest house and go in the basement.
"There was the 'Duck and Cover' song we sang at school as well."
Hurst's work is created by scanning objects into a computer, working on them digitally and arranging them into different configurations.
"Nuclear tests were quite a spectacle at first, and the American PR around them said 'look what we are doing for mankind' and 'the people of the Marshall Islands are happy savages'," Hurst said.
"This was the kind of talk in the 1950s.
"The bikini itself was named after the nuclear explosion - because it was hot."
Nuclear testing began on Bikini Atoll in 1946 and concluded in 1958. Sixty-seven weapon tests were conducted, including the 15-megaton Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test in 1954.
"The Marshall Islanders were told that the tests were 'for God' and everything was in his hands, so it had to be good," Hurst said.
"First the colonial powers come in and brainwash everyone into a system of beliefs, then they use that system of beliefs to push them down, control them and use their land.
"On Runit Island there is what locals call The Tomb, which is a concrete dome that covers 3.5 million cubic metres of nuclear waste."
Hurst's first ever scanned work features her painting of a nuclear test sitting on top of a linen napkin from her grandmother.
"If you had napkins you were lucky, but if you had linen napkins usually someone else would do all the laundry for you.
"That [the artwork] is a bit about white privilege, and the idea that those people who are in the upper echelon don't know about these things [the consequences of nuclear testing].
"I don't think even now it's taught very much in US history. There might be footnotes about things that went wrong, but they don't really let people know about them."
Hurst said another piece in the exhibition, 'Artifacts - 1954 Bikini / Bravo', contrasted the "festive feeling" in 1950s America with the terror of nuclear fallout.
In this case, a napkin from 1954 has been laid on top of a photo of the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test.
"I keep coming back to themes that I've worked with earlier, one of which is the idea of beauty and terror," Hurst said.
"That goes right back to when I was little. My mother had this botanical print above her bed, and the rose had this really evil face. I would go in there and that thing would scare me.
"It was really a pretty print of roses, but I always find this face in it.
"Sometimes beauty and terror go hand in hand."
Atomic Vanitas can be viewed at A Gallery, 85 Glasgow St.