Canada issues new circulating $2 coins celebrating Haida artist
- Published: Aug 3, 2020, 9 AM
Canada has a new circulating commemorative coin.
To mark the 100th birth anniversary of the late Bill Reid, the legendary artist and advocate of Haida culture also known by the Haida name Iljuwas, the Royal Canadian Mint has issued a $2 coin honoring his ground-breaking contributions to contemporary Indigenous art.
Plain and colorful versions of the coin are being released.
The bold image of a grizzly bear, a favorite character of Reid’s paintings, carvings and jewelry, fills the reverse side of this new coin, which was unveiled on the Mint’s YouTube channel July 28.
An artistic legacy
Reid (1920 to 1998) was a master goldsmith, carver and sculptor, as well as a writer and broadcaster. He was also a mentor who championed Haida causes throughout his life. Through his mother, Reid was a member of the K’aadasga Kiigawaay Raven Wolf Clan of T’aanuu.
The artwork appearing on the 2020 $2 coin is known as Xhuwaji, Haida Grizzly Bear. Reid painted it in 1988 on a ceremonial drum belonging to the Sam family of Ahousat, British Columbia.
He later adapted the design for reproduction on silkscreen prints, with proceeds benefitting the Artists for Kids Trust, which benefits children’s art education in British Columbia through the sale of original prints created by professional artists.
The Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse.
The coin has a mintage limit of 3 million pieces, with 1 million plain versions joined by 2 million colorful versions, on which Xhuwaji, Haida Grizzly Bear appears in red and black colors of Haida art.
The design has also been used for two collector coins (1-ounce silver or gold), and rolls in special packaging.
For details, visit the RCM’s website, www.mint.ca.
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