Plant Care. “Wujek” Coal Mine

Silesian Museum, Katowice, 19.10–19.11.2017
Cultural Institution Ars Cameralis
Interventions. Space/Time/Memory
Curator: Marek Zieliński

“… at one point these troops, who were in the square in front of us, pretended to fall back in panic, thus trying to provoke the strikers into going after them into the street. This manoeuvre did not work either. Then, a twenty-four-man special platoon, part of a ZOMO regiment entered, and from an elevation by the main warehouse building – a small ramp, from that ramp they started shooting at the strikers. As a result, thirty-three people were injured, including nine fatally. Six were killed on the spot, the seventh died after being taken to the hospital, the eighth on January 2 and the last one on January 23.” This passage is a recollection of the tragic events of December 16, 1981, by Stanisław Płatek – coalminer, chairman of the strike committee, shot in the shoulder.

Wounds are painful by nature. More or less, but still. Even skin that has healed is somehow different. When touching a wound, the finger is quickly withdrawn in a natural reflex not to irritate the flesh. It is hard to touch even one’s own wounds, and even more so – let someone else do it. A wound is an intimate spot, it is very sensitive. Once wounds were treated by applying herbs, leaves of medicinal plants to relieve pain, soothe and heal. In the above-ground facilities of the “Wujek” coal mine, plants are taken good care of, even in the least expected spot, among working people and machines. Strangely, in the engine room of Lechia shaft, there were nine plants, the operators never counted them, but it was so. Nine.

Michał Smandek

Thanks:

Stanisław Płatek – one of the leaders of the strike at the “Wujek” coal mine in December 1981, member of the Memorial Committee of Miners Killed on December 16, 1981.
Robert Ciupa – director of the Silesian Centre for Freedom and Solidarity
Michał Paprotny – director of “Wujek” and “Ruch Śląsk” coal mines
Grzegorz Sitkowski – occupational health and safety engineer
Marcin Gruszka – health and safety foreman
Daniel Bździuch – MM-1 team shift foreman

photographic documentation of the exhibition: Rafał Wyrwich

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