It is with great sadness that we share the news of Harry Kiyooka’s passing. Harry passed peacefully in his sleep on the morning of April 8th.
Harry Kiyooka gave his life to the art community of Canada. He was active not only as an artist but as an educator, curator, collector, mentor, activist, administrator and philanthropist.
Born in Calgary in 1928, Harry Kiyooka overcame prejudice and poverty to become an artist. He eventually received four degrees, including a Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Masters of Art, and a Masters of Fine Arts all before turning 30 years old. In 1958, Harry left Canada to study art in Italy. Upon his return to Calgary in 1961, he began a teaching position at the new University of Alberta, Calgary campus. In 1988, Harry retired from the University of Calgary after 27 years with the rank of Professor Emeritus of Art.
Over the course of his long career, Harry served on local, provincial, and national boards such as the Canadian Conference of the Arts, the Royal Canadian Academy, the Alberta Society of Artists, the Alberta Art Foundation, Calgary Allied Arts Centre, the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation and the Calgary Contemporary Arts Society. Harry was a founding member of the Calgary Contemporary Arts Society (1982), Life Member of the Alberta Society of Artists and member of the Royal Canadian Academy.
In 1988, Harry was awarded a 125th Anniversary Medal of Confederation for his contribution to the community in establishing the Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts (now Contemporary Calgary), and in 1996, Harry was the recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Alberta College of Art and Design for his contributions to the visual arts and in 2018, he was bestowed an Honourary MFA from the Alberta University for the Arts.
In 2007, Harry and his wife, sculptor, Katie Ohe, founded the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre, a year-round, sustainable, art-in-nature destination dedicated to the research, exhibition, education, and documentation of contemporary visual arts.
The KOAC and all of the people who have been influenced and inspired by Harry will be his lasting legacy to the Canadian art world. He will be deeply missed.
At this difficult time, the family appreciates the space and time to mourn. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Herringer Kiss Gallery in a few weeks. Details will be released when possible.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the KOAC.
Rest in Peace, Harry Kiyooka.
Harry Kiyooka, RCA (1928 – 2022)
B.Ed, B.FA, M.A., MFA.
Co-Founder, Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre