The mine disaster in Marcinelle is the largest mine catastrophe in Belgian history and one of the largest in European mining history. On August 8, 1956, 262 people from twelve different nationalities were killed in a fire explosion at Le Bois du Cazier, including 136 Italians and 95 Belgians.

Concept artist and character designer Thomas Liera was asked by the Fahther Gianni Bordignon and the museum The Bois du Cazier to create an exhibition about this tragedy.

Liera and his screenwriter Didier Ocula chose to focus on a celebration of the courage, the strength and the self-sacrifice of the many thousands of brave souls around the world who have risked their lives in the mines over the centuries. The curators chose to portray the miner as a super hero to honour him.

Legends like Wouter Tulp, John Nevarez, Sebastien Hue, Mike Azevedo, Even Mehl Amundsen, Mark Molnar, Yoshi Tamura, Oscar Grillo, Andrei Riabovitchev have contributed to ‘The Coal of Imagination’.

Across cultures, borders and continents the collective image of the “miner” remains constant. The risks they take, the memories and legacies they leave behind; some of these memories are painful – all are heroic.


Supported by Father Gianni Bordignon, Fraser Maclean, Spiridon Giannakis’s Firestarter Magazine, the HEAJ school of arts (Namur, Belgium), the Nemo Academy of Digital Arts (Florence, Italy),The Bois du Cazier (Marcinelle, Belgium), the Mining History Museum of Lewarde (France), Brussels South Charleroi Airport and the Minister of Education (Federation Wallonie Bruxelles).