The closure of Hatfield Colliery two weeks ago, and that of Thoresby Colliery on the 10th July leaves one deep pit open in the UK, Kenningley, which is due to close by the end of the year. The arguments for and against coal as a source of energy are complex, but whatever its future, in the immediate it is still relevant, as is our capacity to extract it. That Britain will still need coal, with 15 coal fired plants being fitted with carbon capture devices and burning 50million tons of imported coal annually, is not in question. That these pits, and many others already closed, are sitting on an estimated 200 years of coal supply is also not in question. The economic insanity of destroying the UK’s primary and industrial capacity in order to destroy the unions is well documented, its impact still it seems poorly understood. It was necessary to allow the new economics of Reagan and Thatcher, and imported coal is cheaper because it’s largely dug by ununionised labour in dangerous conditions. All these things are a backdrop to the social cost of the collapse of industry, the communities destroyed, and life torn apart by the harsh reality of having the only economic reason for the existence of your town or village removed. It is this that I have focused on in my latest painting, as a reminder that lost jobs can be lost lives.
I completed ‘Collateral Damage’ whilst invigilating our current exhibition – Elemtents of Place’. It’s very useful having an exhibition space attached to the studios, and this is the second work I have finished over the course of the show. I will report back on this in my next blog, but overall the show has been well received and so far I have sold four paintings, which is always a boost 🙂