ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Kwame Delfish, a Canadian artist of Antiguan and Montserratian parentage, is now the creative mind behind a new Canadian commemorative coin.
Delfish, an independent artist and barber by trade, credits much of his success to his parents, who he said were supportive of his talent from a very early age and were instrumental in placing him in several community art programmes.
“My parents, discovering my artistic ability, pushed it,” he said in an interview with mnialive.com.
After high school, Delfish was accepted into the classical animation programme at Sheridan College, described as the Harvard of animation schools, and later studied classical art and artist anatomy at the Ontario College of Art & Design.
His most recent claim to fame, however, came after one of Delfish’s pieces was featured at the Royal Ontario Museum for a Caribana Art Show in 2009. His piece entitled “oh Canada” was what Delfish himself called a remix of the Canadian flag.
“It was basically celebrating who I am, which is Canadian and still of West Indian culture,” he said.
Four years later the same piece was hung in the Daniel Spectrum Centre in Toronto, where a representative from the Canadian Mint spotted it and contacted Delfish’s manager.
Next came an official invitation from the Royal Canadian Mint for Kwame Delfish to design a commemorative coin. Delfish admitted that, at first, he was so floored by the request he thought the whole thing was a prank.
“I got the email from Melanie, my manager and … I looked at the email and I checked everything looking for any little thing to tell me it was a joke, but no. It was for real,” he said.
Fast forward to today, and Kwame Delfish has 8000 very real, specially minted coins bearing his unique design on sale at the Royal Canadian Mint. His design for the $10 coin uses a maple leaf, a traditional Canadian icon, emblazoned in gold as a background for a collage of other Canadian symbols set against a silver coin.
Delfish is working towards producing his first solo art show in early 2015. His coin in available on the mint’s website for $CDN 69.95.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)