Haida Gwaii is a place of astounding natural beauty; a land of ancient legends where mythical beings move about in the guise of familiar animals from our three-dimensional world. This mesmerizing new coin series portrays three of the most powerful supernatural beings from the realms of water, earth and sky.
Coin No. 1: The Orca (Water)
Haida artist April White—SGaana Jaad of the Yahqu’iaanaas Raven Clan—has created a mesmerizing image of an orca leaping out of the water. Look closely and you will see a female form hidden beneath the orca “cloak.” She is using her arms and legs in the orca’s fins and tail to propel herself forward. Her shoulder is situated directly beneath the orca’s eye, and her black hair is flowing along its back, echoed in the orca’s black ribs. The ethereal essence of the scene is further enhanced by the silhouette of a full moon created by the circular outline of the design. The orca is considered the most powerful supernatural being of the undersea realm and this SGaana Jaad (Killer Whale Woman) is a noble matriarch, a fact that is revealed in the labret that adorns the lower lip of her mouth that also doubles as the orca’s blowhole.
Coin No. 2: The Eagle (Sky)
Haida artist April White—Sgaana Jaad of the Yaghu’jaanaas Raven Clan—has created a mesmerizing image of an eagle dancing in the sky. Look closely and you will see a human form hidden beneath the eagle “cloak.”
He articulates his arms inside the wings so they powerfully rise and fall with power to propel him upward with strength and command. As the Eagle readies himself to dance in the sky realm his voice sounds, while his feet in the talons keep the beat of a drum. He wears a dance apron tied around his waist—adorned with a salmon head design—it is at once dance regalia and tail feathers. The Eagle’s nighttime flight is illuminated by the light of a full moon that is represented by the circular outline of the design that also frames the eagle’s silhouette.
Coin No. 3: The Bear (Earth)
Haida artist April White—SGaana Jaad of the Yaghu’jaanaas Raven Clan—has created a mesmerizing image of a bear holding what appears to be a human child in his arms. The word “appears” is used here because this supernatural being is known to marry human beings, and the cubs of these unions, by removing their cloaks, can live as human beings. This is the Bear Mother Myth. In this design, Bear is protecting his child. His extended tongue represents communication as he shares his wisdom with his offspring under the light of a full moon—teaching him bear songs and stories as he prepares him for life without his father.
An original and upscale keepsake for art collectors and anyone who has ever travelled to the Pacific Northwest and been captivated by these remote islands and the rich cultural heritage of the Haida people.