Hesse Honegger Cornelia

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Born in Zürich Switzerland 1944. Studied scientific illustration at the department of Zoology of the University of Zürich and worked there until 1985. On several occasions she worked in marine stations in Italy, France and South Pacific developing her miniature watercolor technique. She painted her first mutated laboratory flies in 1967, their food having been poisoned with EMS, in order to mutate them. In 1969 she began painting true bugs (Heteroptera) collected in Switzerland as well as Ghana, where she lived for some time. During many years living in the countryside near Zürich she continued painting true bugs or parts of true bugs as well as part of wild living lies and spiders exploring ‘random system’ in painting and learning more about habitats and taxonomy of Heteroptera. In 1985 she started again to paint mutated laboratory flies. This time they were mutated by x - rays.


After the accident in the nuclear power plant Chernobyl April 1968, she began researching true bugs in fallout areas from the Chernobyl cloud in Sweden, Switzerland and Chernobyl. Since 1988 her work expanded around nuclear installations in Switzerland, UK, Germany, France and the USA. In 2004 she made a field study on true bugs in in South Vietnam in areas contaminated during the war with the USA with Agent Orange. Her collection of 17’000 true bugs, leafhoppers and ladybird beetles as well as her watercolor paintings of crippled true bugs show the harmful effect of man-made radioactivity in low doses and finally of our own destructive doing.


She financed her field studies herself, working as an art teacher and creating designs for haut couture silks.

She is mother of two sons and enjoys her four grandchildren.


Her work is internationally exposed in museums and published in countless magazines and books. She herself published five books1 and a scientific article2 describing her work. 2015 she received the Nuclear Free Future Award.


Her work is highly disputed among scientists who deny any danger of low-level radioactivity. On the base of her studies of 29 years she finds that normally working nuclear power plants as well as their connected industry like nuclear reprocessing plants and nuclear research institutes are highly dangerous and cause by their emitted radiation large numbers of morphologically deformed insects and plants. She also condemns the use of depleted nuclear weapons and calls for the abandon of all nuclear industry.

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福島大学  芸術による地域創造研究所

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