Exhibition “Black Faces” – 9-9bis 2015


Exhibition of photos | French-Polish Project | September-October 2015 | 9-9bis, Oignies

From the 19th until the 11th of last October, the exhibition of photographs resulting from the project “Black Faces of Europe” has been presented in the Machinery Building, within the location of 9-9bis, at Oignies.

More than 100 photos, gathered in 9 setups, offered to the 1600 visitors a trip to the heart of the mining activity in Poland and France, its memory, its landscapes, its fauna and the life of diggers.

It is in the preserved environment of the Machinery Building from 9-9bis that have been presented the works of 7 French and Polish photographers, echoing, thanks to the careful display, the machines, impressive witnesses of the location’s history.

Located at the heart of the Mining Basin of Nord Pas-de-Calais, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites, the 9-9bis in Oignies is part of the five big locations of the mining’s memory. It is a symbolic location, since it in Oignies, in 1842, that coal is being discovered; and it is the 21st of December 1990 that the last lump of coal is extracted from the 9-9bis – meaning the definitive end of coal extraction in Nord Pas-de-Calais. Being a natural space, as well as a place of living and exploitation, this former old pit, listed as a Historical Monument, is nowadays being redeployed, following an approach focused on music practices and the valorisation of the mining heritage.

The exhibition “Black Faces of Europe” is the culmination of a project bringing together Histoire de Savoir(s) and 7 French and Polish photographers. Far from being an ordinary photographic order, with the photographer producing all alone his photos, the exhibition represents the outcome of two years of collaborative work, four collective residencies in France and Poland, and of participatory workshops with the local population. The multicultural aspect and human exchanges underlining these collective residencies have boosted creativity, and have highlighted the depth and quality of artistic creation.

The project “Black Faces of Europe” now enters a new phase, with the setup of participatory workshops enabling inhabitants from the mining basin to get back to their mining heritage, through photography. You can discover several examples of photography workshops proposed by downloading the brochure here.

Exhibitions are now available, and we are willing to convey them on the mining basin areas. If you are interested, you can learn more on photographers, their photographic series, as well as on technical sheets from the exhibition by clicking here.

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