An exhibition launches this week at the National Coal Museum. The exhibition brings together experiences of communities from Russia, Colombia, County Durham and South Wales as they live alongside and take on the coal industry. This collection shows glimpses of how everyday lives and cultures are upturned by opencast mining and how people gather strength to try to stop the destruction of homes, communities and land.
“This exhibition is important as it helps opens peoples eyes to what is going on across the world; be it a small welsh village like mine or a desert region in Colombia. These places may mean nothing to the global coal companies but to the local people they mean the world. This exhibition gives a voice to all these small campaigns and brings our voices together. Those voices then become louder and shout together in one voice NO OPENCAST NOT NOW NOT EVER”
Eddy Blanche, United Valleys Action Group, 2020
This exhibition shows how living next door to opencast is to live with the effects of dust, noise, harassment and permanent erasure of once loved land. Whether that be in Kuzbass, La Guajira or Merythr Tydfil.
I come here
for my children
to make dens in holly
now their small footprints
are bound over
consumed by machines
interring our horizon
ripping out hawthorn
planted by priests
I perch vigilant
on the edge of sleep
The exhibition has been curated by the Coal Action Network and includes photographs, poetry and donated objects. We work alongside coal affected communities in Russia, Colombia and the UK. Our approach to climate justice is to amplifying the struggle, voices and demands of those on the front line of fossil fuel extraction.
The name of the exhibition came from something Julia Triston, formerly of County Durham wrote after spending a day sharing and learning with folks from coal affected communities in Colombia.