The Dark Truth: Coal Miners of China

Gerduberg cultural center Reykjavik, Iceland China Coal Miners opening show
Exhibition opening in Gerduberg, Reykjavik, Iceland.
China Coal Miners

With my photo reportage “The Dark Truth: Coal Miners of China” I hope to contribute in finding ways to challenge and inform alongside the millennium goal which seeks to make the global economy work for  the many and not the few. Cinzia D’Ambrosi

“Globalization creates new markets and wealth, even as it causes widespread suffering, disorder, and unrest.”(Global Policy Forum).  Although, globalization is interpreted as an advance in human and working rights, in many countries, it stands for oppression and exploitation.  Workers, mostly migrant workers, often are subjected to unsafe practices, absence of minimal safety measures and extremely long hours, all factors contributing to alarmingly high accident and mortality rate.

My photo reportage “The Dark Truth: Coal Miners of China” exposes some of the working conditions in the world largest coal industry, an industry that is fuelling the Economic “Miracle” of China (Orville Shell, published by www.project-syndicate in its China Stands Up).  On field, I saw the desperation of the workers, often migrant workers and ex farmers that took high risks feeling they had no choice; unaware of their human and working rights. Taking up work in illegal coal mines, they were stripped of their basic human dignity working in tunnels were there was just one exit, which meant that any explosion would leave them trapped. Many accidents went unreported and with the tacit accord with local sheriffs went silent with the bodies of the victims just hid away.  With my reportage “The Dark Truth: Coal Miners of China”, I hope to be contributing in finding ways to challenge, inform and prevent more workers to take up work that isn’t safe and emporwer them in their own rights.

One of my achievements is to have collaborated with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese in spreading information on the coal miners working conditions.  My images were used by the Justice and Peace Commission in a video and informative materials distributed in various work places and education establishments. Catalogues, leaflets and postcards were created for seminars and various topical talks with the aim to educate and prevent more unnecessary deaths.

China coal miners

On the 21st March 2009  Gerduberg Cultural Centre  in Reykjavik has opened a solo show of my work “The Dark Truth: Coal Miners of China”. The Gerduberg Cultural centre exhibition manager Holmfridur Olafsdottir sustained me in highlighting the workers’ conditions, exploitation and slavery today.  China is taken as an example of worldwide issues. The message couldn’t have been gloomier however the public was well receptive to it.  Holmfridur Olafsdottir was invited to give an interview about the show by the national Icelandic radio, Radio 1.

One of my achievements is to have collaborated with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese in spreading information on the coal miners working conditions.  My images were used by the Justice and Peace Commission in a video and informative materials distributed in various work places and education establishments. Catalogues, leaflets and postcards were created for seminars and various topical talks with the aim to educate and prevent more unnecessary deaths.

China Coal Miners

On the 21st March 2009  Gerduberg Cultural Centre  in Reykjavik has opened a solo show of my work “The Dark Truth: Coal Miners of China”. The Gerduberg Cultural centre exhibition manager Holmfridur Olafsdottir sustained me in highlighting the workers’ conditions, exploitation and slavery today.  China is taken as an example of worldwide issues. The message couldn’t have been gloomier however the public was well receptive to it.  Holmfridur Olafsdottir was invited to give an interview about the show by the national Icelandic radio, Radio 1.

Due to the success of the exhibition “The Dark Truth: Coal Miners of China” was extended from mid May to the end of June which made it one of the longest shows of the Reykjavik Cultural Centre in the year 2009.  The public has been genuinely interested in knowing more about the issues I have let them glimpse in.  I gave talks to local education groups as well as guiding the exhibition in connection with the national day of cultural activities sponsored by Reykjavik city.

During the course of the exhibition I was asked for various radio interviews by the National Radio Station (RUV1), Hafnarfjordur radio station and the opening of the show (21st March 2009) was also shown in the National TV station (RUV1) during the evening news!

China Coal Miners

In connection with the exhibition Gerduberg assisted me in setting up a course for Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at the centre. Sponsored by the Reykjavik city the course was free and open to young people of 17 to 25 years of age wishing to get a greater understanding of Documentary Photography.

Copyright Cinzia D’Ambrosi

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2 thoughts on “The Dark Truth: Coal Miners of China

  1. Hi Cinzia:
    Great images.
    I would like to ilustrate a chapter on coal minning of my book on Climate Change with one of your miners. How much is the fee.
    The book is for Chile, in Spanish.
    Best Regards
    Jorge Ianiszewski

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