‘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.
Darek Fortas is Lens-based artist with a strong interest in politics, aesthetics and distribution of power. His practice can be characterised as consisting of a combination of documentary-style fieldwork and constructed studio practice and both of a very formal aesthetic rigor. His work has been published in Irish Arts Review, Source Photographic Review, Uncertain States and L’Oeil de la Photographie and variety of on-line photography blogs and magazines. His photographs are featured in a number public and private collections including Institut Polonais Paris, Fondation Grésigny and Pierre Passebon Gallery Paris.
Darek Fortas in collaboration with Contemporary Lynx prepared especially for our readers three prints from the series ‘Coal Story’ in one size: 40 x 50 cm | Price: 150 GBP in edition of 100 + 2 AP, if you wish a print in other size or if you require further details contact us: [email protected]