Dublin School of Creative Arts
Darek Fortas' 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. In the early 1980s coal mines were a major site of struggle and resistance against the communist regime, and workers' protests resulted in the creation of Solidarity – a workers and citizens movement under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa. The coalminers' actions eventually led to the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War. Posing important questions that are associated with Solidarity's values, the movement's legacy, and its influence on contemporary Polish society, Coal Story highlights the social and political capacity of the miners and evokes the history and aftermath of the legendary Solidarity movement.