Lys Arango – The river ran black

7 October 2022 to 16 April 2023

The river ran black

My grandparents settled in the mining region of ​​Asturias in the 50s. A time when coal mining was the engine of economic development in the region. But Spain’s accession to the European Union triggered the countdown to the closure of this industry. A slow agony that will culminate this year with the cessation of activity of the last mine: San Nicolás.

This decline has marked the landscape and the population. The rusting mining towers still stand as nature reclaims the space. In the villages, hundreds of houses and businesses have closed their shutters. Young people leave for lack of job prospects and those who stay remember the past with nostalgia.

Today in Asturias, the media spotlight has gone out. Born in Madrid, far from those northern lands loaded with the symbolism of the workers’ struggle, I returned to the place where my family was born, to photograph the end of an era and collect the stories of the last miners.

Lys Arango

Lys Arango is a freelance journalist and photographer, born in Madrid and based in Paris. She has worked for NGOs, the United Nations, as well as for the international press in many conflict zones and humanitarian crises. From 2019, her work evolves towards a dialogue between writing and documentary photography, the result of a long immersion in the thickness of the historical and cultural contexts of the social issues she addresses.

Exhibition presented within the framework of the Zoom Photo Festival Saguenay.

For more information on the Zoom Photo Festival Saguenay, consult the

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