On September 29 2004, the Bank of Canada issued a new $20 bank note as part of a new series of paper currency entitled Canadian Journey designed to celebrate the country's history, culture and achievements. The back of this new $20 bill features the artwork of Pacific Coast North West Indian artist Bill Reid (1920-1998). Internationally recognized as one of Canada's most accomplished artists, Reid produced magnificent work ranging from intricate exquisite jewelry, beautiful prints, wood carvings to massive sculptures all in the Pacific Coast North West Indian art style of his Haida culture.
There are images of four of Bill Reid's artwork on this bank note. At the bottom left is a wood carving dedicated in 1980 called The Raven and the First Men which is currently on display at the University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. The middle top has a faded image of the Haida Grizzly Bear which was a design used for a ceremonial West Coast First Nation drum in 1988.
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In front of the Haida Grizzly Bear is the image of Reid's largest and most complex sculpture entitled The Spirit of Haida Gwaii. A white plaster casting is on display at the Museum of Civilization near Ottawa, Canada. The bronze casting of this sculpture was installed in 1991 at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. This piece was subtitled The Black Canoe since it was given a black finish. A newer jade green casting entitled The Jade Canoe was completed and installed at the Vancouver International Airport in 1994. This airport has a nice collection of Pacific Coast North West Indian art on display throughout its terminals.
Finally, the top right has a faded image of a high relief bronze freize entitled Mythic Messengers which was unveiled in 1984 and is now also on display at the Vancouver International Airport. Another casting of this piece is on display at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec.
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Photos of the original four pieces of Bill Reid's Pacific Coast North West Indian art used for this bank note can be seen at the Bank of Canada site.
Bill Reid has influenced many of today's Pacific Coast North West Indian artists who are producing wondering works of art. Imagine such a piece being displayed in your home. See Northwest Indian art carvings or Northwest Indian art prints at very affordable online prices at Free Spirit Gallery.
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