Comox Valley artist Andy Everson has created the designs that adorn a new three-coin gold series produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.
The series illustrates interconnections within the natural world, and highlights Canada’s multicultural people.
“They approached me out of the blue, saw my art work and asked me to submit a design,” said Everson, a K’ómoks First Nation drummer and ceremonial dancer.
The Royal Canadian Mint will release one coin each month. The first is a pure gold coin bearing the image of a beaver, dedicated to the theme of land.
Available this month, it incorporates the four seasons framed within a wreath of six maple leaves.
It has a $200 denomination, but is worth significantly more.
“In reality it actually costs $1,300 if you go to buy it,” Everson said. “There’s only 1,500 of them minted.”
The coin also comes in a silver version with a holographic finish. The face value of the latter is about $20 but the price is $115. A total of 7,500 of the silver coins have been produced.
There are six coins in total — three designs and two different finishes. October’s coin bears a thunderbird, representing air, and the November coin shows a whale, symbolic of the sea.
Along with producing eye-catching images that blend traditional, modern and pop culture motifs, the innovative Everson performs with various groups such as the K’umugwe Dancers and the Le-La-La Dancers, sometimes on an international stage. In 2011, for instance, he and other Canadian First Nation performers participated in the Global Indigenous Peoples Performing Arts in Taiwan to help celebrate the country’s 100th anniversary.
It was through ceremonial dance that Everson began his first serious forays into art. At a young age, he started drawing Northwest Coast art.
In 1990 he designed and painted chilkat-style blankets for use in potlatch dancing. He has since created numerous pieces that appear in galleries around B.C., and some in the U.S.
He has been a professional artist for about the last 12 years. He primarily creates two-dimensional work, mainly limited edition prints, which can be viewed or purchased at the I-Hos Gallery on Comox (Dyke) Road.
The coins are available through the Royal Canadian Mint or at post offices.
For more information, visit mint.ca. Click on First Nations or Best Sellers.