January 4, 2008. I’m editing a story on Roy Kiyooka while watching Michael de Courcy’s short film Voice: Roy Kiyooka on his website www.michaeldecourcy.com. Today is the 14th anniversary of Roy’s death, and there he is on my computer monitor, unmistakably himself and very much in context—at the Western Front for his 66th birthday/retirement party surrounded by friends: Takeo, Linda, Minoru, Paul Gibbons, Themba Tana, Jim Munro, Rhoda and Trudy . . . His face, his mannerisms, his voice are so familiar, it’s almost painful to watch.
Author: John Endo Greenaway
In the new book, Nikkei Fishermen on the BC coast: Their Biographies and Photographs, a “date deceased” incorrectly appeared in Fujio Frank Egami’s biography....
Kiyooka represented and still embodies an idea of art making in which the main focus and value stay with the making, the process of making beautiful things; the perspective being on the process itself and not so much on the final object. When creative energy manifests itself as such a force, beyond disciplines and aesthetic definitions, that energy needs and wants to be taken care, to continue to inspire people so that we can feed our hopes that self expression as a sellable item will be eventually substituted by creative energy as an agent of change. Kiyooka was also aware of the power of sound, sound making as a social-dialogical process, an improvised collaboration among creative minds and souls: the value of difference as a patrimony to share.
When Roy Kiyooka died suddenly and unexpectedly in February 1994, he left behind a legacy of creativity fuelled by a lifelong passion for making art, in all its various guises. Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1926, he grew up in Calgary, Alberta, where he began his studies at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Art). Over the course of his career, he was known as a painter, photographer, musician, film-maker, poet and teacher. He taught at several universities during his career, retiring from the University of British Columbia in 1991.
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