For a moment, Toronto artist Kwame Delfish was stumped when presented with a golden opportunity to come up with a design for a Royal Canadian Mint coin to celebrate Canada’s silver maple leaf.
“I stepped back saying I was not comfortable with the normal symbols like hockey and beavers that are synonymous with Canada,” he recalled. “Then it dawned on me as I dug deeper that perhaps I could use symbols representative of each of the provinces.”
Delfish’s representation of the maple leaf outline, which mimics Canada’s geographical shape, was selected for the 2015 Canadian Silver Maple Leaf bullion coin issued annually by the Canadian government.
Offering a creative portrait of Canada, the $10 coin pays tribute to the maple leaf as a national icon through symbols that represent Canada and its regions.
The Canadian Rocky Mountains and a white-tailed deer in the leaf’s left point represent the rugged wilderness of the western provinces, the wheat symbolizes the grain-growing Canadian prairies and the fishing industry and the Eastern provinces are signified in the right leaf point by a fish, boat and the famed Peggy’s Point Lighthouse.
A partial map of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut – home to many of Canada’s Aboriginal people – dominates the leaf’s middle point while the Tower of Victory and Peace at the base depicts the government and the tie that binds Canadians.
Kwame is ecstatic that his art work was selected.
“This is quite an honour and I am still trying to come to grips with what it means,” he said. “I have been fielding phone calls and text messages from family and friends telling me how beautiful the piece is.”
A total of 8,000 of these coins were minted and each is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with a black beauty box.
A Heritage Canada administrator encouraged Delfish to take part in the competition after seeing one of his paintings which was on display at Daniels Spectrum.
“I have always had a visual approach to most things I have done and I am happy that my parents recognized my talent and supported me,” said Delfish who produced his first oil painting at age six.
The part-time barber graduated from R.H. King Academy, Sheridan College and the Ontario College of Art & Design.