May 7th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 18
Artist proposes building country’s lamp
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Photo: Yurek Panek
A conceptual design of the proposed Davy Lamp.
Pass Herald Reporter
Local artist Yurek Panek says he has always had an artistic need to create whether through painting, drawing or sculpting.
Now Yurek is looking to the community for support for the construction of a Davy safety lamp somewhere in the Crowsnest Pass.
“I was thinking; we need a visibly significant symbol of a mining town to show our heritage. We need more symbols of our mining history,” says Yurek.
Inspired to create a visible representation of the community’s mining legacy, Yurek first considered building a statue of a miner, or a pickax but then settled on a Davy lamp.
At 32-foot high, the proposed monument could be the largest of its kind in Canada and perhaps the world.
But Yurek says the fate of the project is in the hands of the community. The size and quality of the lamp and whether or not it will have a functional light depends on the financial support the project receives from the public.
Panek has been looking for feedback on his proposal and a suitable location to be decided by the community.
He says there has been some support for the project. The late Kelly Rinaldi thought the Davy lamp was a good idea and helped Yurek with the early stages of the project.
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Council would be approached if and when the Crowsnest community shows its support.
There are several similar monuments in coal mining regions throughout the world. A Davy lamp monument stands outside the Stadium of Light in England, home to the Sunderland A.F.C football team.
Yurek says the Davy lamp monument will be a tourist attraction and a stimulant to the local economy.
The Davy safety lamp was used in the flammable atmospheres of underground coal mines. Invented in 1815, it was used to reduce the danger of explosions caused by methane and other flammable gasses known as firedamp or minedamp.
Its inventor, Sir Humphrey Davy, discovered that a flame enclosed in a fine mesh couldn’t ignite firedamp. If flammable gas mixtures were present, the Davy lamp burned higher but if the mine’s air was oxygen poor, the flame would be extinguished, alerting miners to an unhealthy atmosphere.
Yurek moved to Canada from his native Poland in 1978. An engineer by profession, he worked construction jobs for many years but says art is his passion.
Yurek says his intention is to do something positive for the community and hopes the project will attract support.
May 7th ~ Vol. 84 No. 18
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