Looking Differently: Feminism, Politics and Coal Extraction

Exhibition, film screening, talk, workshop

Extracting Us is a photo exhibition and invitation to action through cross-national accountability hosted at ONCA Gallery from the 11th to 21th July 2019. The events seek to ‘look differently’ at the politics of coal extraction, taking an intersectional approach and bringing together feminism, ecology, climate change and politics.

Presenting photographs from Indonesia, the exhibition will be accompanied with a workshop, reading group, film screening and talk by Indonesian scholar-activists to create a space for challenging ‘north-south’ narratives and practicing climate justice.

Indonesia is the fifth largest coal producer globally, exporting 80% of its production to feed the hungry economies of China, India, Japan and South Korea (that in turn feed other hungry economies). In areas of coal extraction, human and environment health is threatened, leading in many cases to death and destruction of local ecosystems and livelihoods. But these threats are not felt evenly: women, children, livelihoods, rivers, forests, rice-fields and homes are most severely affected.

The story of coal in Indonesia is about a web of relations that exceed local areas of coal extraction and national borders. It is about a web of relations that also brings together different temporalities as the histories of UK colonial coal mining are at the origins of modern-day Indonesian industry. Indonesian activists call coal a ‘sexy killer’: far from the sites of extraction, coal takes the form of energy, attracting consumers, businesses and politicians. The hunger for energy from coal in the name of equal access and progress means that coal extraction continues to rise (and is projected to keep doing so), as the profits from the industry fund local political careers and European football clubs. In the recent Indonesian presidential elections, over 70% of funding for each presidential candidate came from coal mining and the fossil-fuel industry (JATAM, 2019). The powerful elite are not only extracting nature but also extracting us.

The exhibition will be open during regular gallery opening hours (Wednesday-Sunday free and open to all) and additional events include:

Exhibition Launch – 12 July, 6-8pm

Reading Group – 12 July, 3-5pm

Film screening of ‘Sexy Killers‘ and discussion with scholar-activist Siti Maimunah – 17 July, 6.30 -9pm

Postcard Writing Workshop – 19 July, 1-3pm (tbc)

The exhibition and events are organised and co-curated by Siti Maimunah, Elona Hoover, Rebecca Elmhirst, Dian Ekowati, Alice Owen members of the WEGO network and University of Brighton Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics, along with ONCA Gallery manager Lydia Heath.

Made possible with the kind support of the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics, the EU-funded WEGO (Well-being, Ecology, Gender and cOmmunity) Innovation Training Network, JATAM, ONCA Gallery and the London Mining Network.

More information about the exhibit: https://onca.org.uk/event/extracting-us/

Recent press release about UK investments in Indonesian extractive industries and exhibition: http://londonminingnetwork.org/2019/07/uk-investors-set-sights-on-indonesia-fossil-fuel-infrastructure-despite-deadly-mining-legacy/

Facebook events: https://www.facebook.com/events/2377565282521375/?notif_t=plan_user_associated&notif_id=1562148309939421

Link to the film ‘Sexy Killers’: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEfBiFTaxLT5Kxe-m6JS5iw