ART AND APPALACHIA’S BIG COAL DAMAGE
Black Bird, a song that foretells a coal miner’s death. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgGT89_aEWA I painted this blackbird in January of 2014 just as I began a year-long series of artworks depicting the harm wrought by the mining, transportation, burning and disposal of coal. While creating these paintings in my studio I played over and over the sad and heartbreaking coal mining songs from a 2007 “Music of Coal” CD set I would highly recommend listening to if you are interested. Today, Robert Kennedy Jr., in a NY Times op-ed entitled, “Coal, an Outlaw Enterprise” stated in part that, If we are to save Appalachia, we first need to save our democracy by getting the dirty money out of politics. As long as campaigns are fueled by donations from King Coal, state agencies and politicians in Kentucky and West Virginia will continue to be servile cogs in a destructive machine. That mechanism is uprooting America’s purple mountain majesty, poisoning its rivers and people, and destroying the communities of Appalachia”.
These two watercolors pictured ( 9 ½”w x 10 ½”h), were inspired by what I see as the permanent damage inflicted on the landscape by destructive mountaintop removal during the process of coal mining. The black hole is dark–empty–black holes of ruin. I do believe that art has the power to influence action and thought. I am hoping that my artwork, at the very least, might help to alert some to the terrible dangers in the continued use of coal. I do hope that more and more people will become inspired to be involved in the development of alternative energy sources in order to rid our dependence on dirty and unhealthy coal.