Miners' Talking Women 2009

Eight Frames, Embroidered Texts on Silk and Cotton
Sabuk Coal Mining Museum, Korea
Permanent Collection

Quotations from former miners were selected, written out by hand by a number of men local to the area and then embroidered onto fabric. The quotes were originally collected by the Sabuk Coal Museum. I deliberately chose ones that revealed how the male coal miners viewed the women in their lives including their wives and prostitutes they may have frequented in the villages.

Translations clockwise from top left:

1. Coal and sawdust are even found in the navel of a girl from Seoul-ok (the name of a well known brothel that
previously existed in Sabuk).
2. If a woman crosses your path while you are walking to work in the morning, it is better not to enter the mine that
day. (It was thought to bring bad luck).
3. Village women hear an ambulance siren in the distance as they anxiously wait for their husbands to return from
work.
4. In order to become a professional prostitute in Seoul, one must pass through Sabuk and Gohan first.
5. When dad is at work, mum is too. (Financial circumstances dictated that two incomes were required and
mothers could not afford to stay at home with their children)