KOAC is pleased to support this exhibition of works by our founder and 50-year resident of Springbank


FEBRUARY 1 – APRIL 28 2024
Opening Reception February 1, 2024 at 5:00pm to 8:00pm (remarks at 6:00pm)
At NICKLE GALLERIES, University of Calgary, 435 Campus Lane NW

Nickle Galleries exhibit
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Painter, printmaker, instructor and community builder, Harry Mitsuo Kiyooka straddled the last hundred years in a way that few other artists have. Born in Calgary in 1928, a place he would call home for 94 years, Kiyooka served as an important link between an earlier generation of Alberta artists – some in fact his instructors – and the thriving artistic place Calgary has become. His artistic legacy is characterized by his contributions to abstract art, his impact as a teacher and mentor, and his involvement in the development of the arts scene in Canada.

The son of Japanese immigrants poverty and prejudice were part of his family’s story during the volatile 1930s. With the Second World War came the termination of his father’s work as a hotel bellhop, followed by an arduous attempt at farming north of Edmonton in the small community of Opal, where five other Japanese Canadian families were allowed to live.

None of this held Harry back. Educated as no one could have possibly imagined at the time for a Canadian-born artist by the end of the 1950s, he held four degrees in art and education including two Masters from American universities when no such programs were available in Canada. This background served him well as an instructor at the University of Calgary from 1961 to 1988 when he retired as Professor Emeritus of Art.

Kiyooka’s hard-edge abstract period is his best known nationally and in this Nickle Galleries exhibition — this creative period is a major feature of this retrospective. Overall, nearly 70 years of art are celebrated and will cover other lesser-known subjects such as his portraiture, his early work and his life-long preoccupation with Italy and especially La Serenissima: Venice.

Lenders to the exhibition include Nickle Galleries (University of Calgary), Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Herringer Kiss Gallery and Katie Ohe’s Collection — whose holdings number nearly 400 artworks.

In reflecting on Harry’s contribution, niece Fumiko Kiyooka observed that as a Japanese Canadian artist of his generation, he had “that kind of ambition because of everything they went through.”

Nickle Galleries (

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