Coal Mining Stalwarts: Photographs by Lawrence Chrismas
Kathleen Daly and the Canmore Coal Mines
There’s still time to take in two exhibitions at the Whyte Museum in Banff that have strong ties to Canmore and its history as a coal mining town. Kathleen Daly and the Canmore Coal Mines and Coal Mining Stalwarts: Photographs by Lawrence Chrismas come down on April 1, which leaves three short weeks to check them out.
Kathleen Daly (1898-1994) was a Canadian artist who studied art at the Ontario College of Art. While her husband George Douglas Pepper, a famous Canadian war artist, served overseas as a war artist during the Second World War, Daly journeyed to the Rocky Mountains to recover from polio. While here in the Bow Valley, she began sketching and painting the Canmore mines and the coal miners. The book Kathleen Daly, Canmore workings May 19-June 28, 1987 by Joanna Dutka and Kathleen Daly is an excellent resource.
Lawrence Chrismas, meanwhile, is a photographer, storyteller and mining historian based in Calgary. Chrismas happened to be in the Bow Valley when the Canmore mines closed in 1979 after nearly a century of operation. Intrigued by the story and curious how the closing of the mines would affect the miners, Chrismas asked an acquaintance, who knew a number of these men, if he could meet some of Canmore’s miners. From that Chrismas made a series of remarkable environmental portraits, while at the same time collecting their stories. He has since done this in every coal mining community across Canada. More information about Chrismas and his work can be found at: www.cambriapublishing.com
Both exhibits are beautiful reminder of a Canmore that once was.
More information on both exhibitions can be found on the Whyte Museum’s website at http://www.whyte.org/exhibitions/index.html