Youry Bilak, Miners of Ukraine
Miners of Ukraine
Feb 25 – Sep 22, 2024
Centre Historique Minier
Lewarde, France

The Lewarde Historical Mining Center presents the exhibition Miners of Ukraine based on the photographic work of Youry Bilak, to be discovered until September 22, 2024. As a museum that is always involved in the life of the city, the Historical Mining Center pays homage, through this exhibition, to a European country with a long mining tradition which is experiencing a tragic contemporary history. Featured are the photographs of Youry Bilak, an artist of Ukrainian origin who, between 2005 and 2012, produced several reports in the different mining basins of Ukraine, which are today on both sides of the front line. He notably went to the Donbass, which constitutes the most important coal basin in Ukraine and brings together 90% of the country’s coal reserves, where he met miners whom he photographed for the first time in 2005, then a second time in 2012. This project is also an opportunity to present Miners, a painting painted by Petr Fedorovich Shapovalov in 1985, recently acquired thanks to the support of the Regional Museum Acquisition Fund, which departs from Soviet Realism to offer a portrait borrowing from humanity, which resonates with the work of Youry Bilak.

This exhibition is also designed as a way for visitors to become aware of the current nature of coal production in Europe and around the world. As such, the discovery of the 26 portraits and work scenes will be accompanied in particular by an exceptional meeting with Youry Bilak and Hennadyi, a miner from Vouhledar forced to flee when Russian soldiers entered his village.