Harry Kiyooka

Professor Emeritus, 1961-1988

These two paintings, one from 1962-1966, the other from 2010, draw attention to Harry Kiyooka’s long and lasting contribution to abstract painting in Canada. Beyond that the artworks also stand as markers of the artist’s long devotion to building the city’s artscene and the development of a university level program in the practice and study of the visual arts.

Returning to Canada after three years of painting in Europe, Tuscania was painted during a period when before the formation of the Art Department, Kiyooka had joined the staff of the university (1961), and had shown in the Fifth Biennial of Canadian Art (1963) at the National Gallery of Canada. In a sense, the university had found their “man”, Calgary-born, with four degrees already to his credit in fine art and art education and –as part of a wider team effort –  energy and ideas to assemble an art department with a Bachelor of Fine Art(1967) and Master of Fine Art (1978) degrees.

Along the way, Harry Kiyooka has been a founding member of the Calgary Contemporary Arts Society (1982) which established the Triangle Art Gallery – an important venue for Alberta art, past and present and now part of Contemporary Calgary – and more recently, with artist Katie Ohe:  KOAC or the Kiyooka Ohe Art Centre and Sculpture Park. Located on their acreage in Springbank, the centre will be an indoor and outdoor public contemporary art gallery that includes a botanic sculpture garden, wetlands, woods sanctuary, two studios, residence and Pavilion to house their extensive collection of contemporary paintings, sculpture and library.

While the plans for KOAC have taken shape, the meditative Kalpa 12 is part of the 88 year old artist’s most recent series.

Tuscania (c.1962-1966)
oil on canvas
Collection of Alberta Foundation for the Arts