Coal Story is the result of an extensive photographic engagement with the two largest coal mining companies in the European Union located in Silesia, the most industrialised part of Poland.
The project combines contemporary photography and archival research dating back to the 1960s, when Poland experienced significant economic and industrial expansion. This resulted in migrant workers moving from rural and non-industrialised regions of the country in search of work and a better life.In the early 1980s, the coal mines were a major site of struggle and resistance against the communist regime.
Workers’ protests resulted in the creation of Solidarity – a workers and citizen’s movement under the leadership of Lech Walesa. The coal miners actions eventually led to the collapse of the communist regime and the end of the Cold War. Coal Story is a photographic survey that considers the aftermath of the communist regime in this particular part of Poland.
The project highlights the social and political capacity of the miners. Coal Story evokes the history and aftermath of the legendary Solidarity movement and poses important questions that are associated with Solidarity’s values, the movement’s legacy and influence in contemporary Polish society.