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  1. All Amazed for Roy Kiyooka. Exhibition Catalogue. 48 pages, b/w images. Soft cover. Essays/Transcripts of Evening of Poetry and commentary by John O’Brian, Scott Watson, Daphne Marlatt, Michael Ondaatje, Roy Miki,
    Henry Tsang, Sheryl Conkelton,
    Scott Toguri McFarlane. $20.00
    ISBN# 0-55152-117-2 — To order contact:, tel. 604.822.2759,
    fax. 604.822.6689.

Roy Kiyooka Conference

1 October—2 October 1999

Roy Kiyooka (1926-1994) was a multi-disciplinary artist who was a painter, sculptor, teacher, poet, musician, filmmaker, and photographer. When Kiyooka arrived in Vancouver in 1959 he was already one of Canada’s most respected abstract painters. His modernist stance at the time inspired a generation of Vancouver painters to reach beyond regionalism. In the sixties and seventies Kiyooka began to write and publish poetry and produce photographic works. The best known of these, StoneDGloves (1969-1970), is both a poetic and photographic project. As Kiyooka eventually rejected the Greenbergian modernist aesthetic that informed his paintings he increasingly took up performance, photography, film and music. He saw the position of the artist as being in opposition to the institutions of art. The shape of Kiyooka’s work is only now being revealed, especially his photographic work. This conference takes the measure of that shape.

Multi-Media Evening

Fri. Oct. 1, 1999 7:30 — 10 p.m. Room 308 (Theatre) Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design

This is an evening of poetry, video, film and music in celebration of Kiyooka’s work. Presenters from Canada’s premier literary and visual arts worlds include: David Bolduc (Toronto), George Bowering (Vancouver), Joy Kogawa (Toronto), Maria Hindmarch (Vancouver), Carole Itter (Vancouver), Daphne Marlatt (Victoria), Roy Miki (Vancouver), Michael Ondaatje (Toronto), Renee Rodin (Vancouver), Sarah Sheard (Toronto), Gerry Shikatani (Toronto), Sharon Thesen (Vancouver).

Video: Fumiko Kiyooka (Vancouver), excerpt from The Return, 1998. Robert Filliou and Roy Kiyooka, Video Breakfasting Together, if you wish’, 1979 Michael de Courcy, Voice/Roy Kiyooka, 1999 (5 min.).

Dance: Robin Poitras Regina and Fumiko Kiyooka, Ode to ‘StoneDGloves’, 1999.

Music: Temba Tana (N Vancouver), Takeo Yamashiro (Vancouver), Jim Monroe (Richmond).

Panel Discussions: Sat. Oct. 2, 1999 10 a.m. — 5:15 p.m. Room 308 (Theatre) Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design In acknowledgment of Kiyooka’s visual arts and literary works, academics, writers, and artists will participate in panel discussions on the following issues:

10 a.m. — 12 p.m. Panel 1: The Politics of Cultural Identity. Moderator: John O’Brian. Bio: John O’Brian teaches modern art history, theory and criticism ‘with a Canadian bias’ at the University of British Columbia. He has published 11 books, most recently Ruthless Hedonism: The American Reception of Matisse (University of Chicago Press, 1999). He wrote first about the work of Roy Kiyooka in the catalogue for The Flat Side of the Landscape, an exhibition he curated for the Mendel Art Gallery in 1989. In 1993 he organized Roy Kiyooka: The Hoarfrost Paintings for the UBC Fine Arts Gallery, and in 1998 he wrote “Politics and Other Mendacities” for Front Magazine.

Panelist: Roy Miki, Title: Unravelling Roy Kiyooka: A Re-assessment Amidst Shifting Boundaries. Abstract: This paper will address the constituting role of critical frameworks for situating the work of Roy Kiyooka. Speculative in its projections—and necessarily so in the current unraveling of identity formations dependent on the Canadian “nation” as a boundary—it will explore the potential for a shift in the cultural value of Kiyooka’s poetics from a marginal to an emergent perspective that opens what he calls “pacific windows.”

Bio: Roy Miki is a writer, poet, teacher, and editor, whose publications include Justice in Our Time: The Japanese Canadian Redress Settlement (Co-authored with Cassandra Kobayashi) and Random Access File (Red Deer College Press). He edited Pacific Windows: Collected Poems of Roy K. Kiyooka (Talonbooks), which received the 1997 poetry award from the Association for Asian American Studies, and is currently writing a book on his participation in the Japanese Canadian redress movement of the 1980s. A collection of essays, Broken Entries: Race Subjectivity Writing, has recently been published by Mercury Press.

Panelists: Susanna Egan and Gabriele Helms Title: The Many Tongues of “Mothertalk”: Cross-cultural Collaboration and the Japanese Canadian Experience. Abstract: We propose to talk about the nature and effects of collaboration in Roy Kiyooka’s Mothertalk. In particular, we will examine the investment of Roy Kiyooka in his mother’s story, his involvement of Matsuki Masutani, the necessary intervention of family on Roy’s death, and their invitation to Daphne Marlatt to complete the work. Her introduction and NeWest’s production strategies determine reception of this text to a significant degree, both declaring the multiple collaborations and tidying up the complex procedure.

Bio: Susanna Egan teaches in the English Department at the University of British Columbia. Her work in autobiography studies includes Patterns of Experience in Autobiography (1984), Mirror Talk: Genres of Crisis in Contemporary Autobiography (1999), and numerous articles.

Bio: Gabriele Helms is a post doctoral fellow in the English Department at the University of British Columbia. In her current research she explores the connections between generic instability of contemporary Canadian life-writing and reconceptualizations of experience. She has published on auto/biography and contemporary Canadian literature. Her latest collaborative papers have appeared in Painting the Maple: Race, Gender, and the Construction of Canada.

Panelist: Henry Tsang Title: Art Calling Fool Scold: Learning to See and Roy Kiyooka. Abstract: “Art is more like a quest than it is a vocation.” My presentation will focus on Roy Kiyooka as teacher, mentor, soothsayer. Excerpts from “Hieronymus Bosch’s Heretical April Fool Diverti-mementos & Other Protestations” will be examined as well as photographic works that reflect his relationship with art, the art game, being an artist, being Japanese, and cultural identification.

Bio: Henry Tsang is a visual artist and independent curator based in Vancouver. His artwork has been exhibited across Canada and abroad, and is concerned with cultural identity and intercultural communication, exploring the interaction between different cultures resulting from contact, influence, negotiation, and contestation. Tsang’s curatorial projects include Self Not Whole: Cultural Identity and Chinese-Canadian Artists in Vancouver, at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver in 1991; Racy Sexy, an intercultural multidisciplinary project presenting 33 artists in 9 community and cultural centres around Greater Vancouver in 1993; and City at the End of Time: Hong Kong 1997, a series of art exhibitions, poetry readings and public lectures, in 1997.

12—1:30 p.m. Lunch

1:30—4:15 p.m. Panel 2: Photography and Poetics. Moderator: Smaro Kamboureli, University of Victoria. Bio: Smaro Kamboureli teaches Canadian literature at the University of Victoria. Her recent publications include her anthology, Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literature and her critical study, Scandalous Bodies: Diasporic Literature in English Canada. She is also the editor of the NeWest Press “Writer as Critic” series.

Panelist: Lora Senechal Carney Title: Through gold windows of the sun: Kiyooka and Japanese artist-photographers. Abstract: In his 1994 Nobel Prize lecture, Kenzaburo Oe said that contemporary Japan is split between “two opposite poles of ambiguity.” That split is “imprinted like a deep scar” on him and his writing. In fact, much recent art from Japan is imprinted with this divide between its supermodern/Western aspect and its traditional Asian culture. The poles in Roy Kiyooka’s work may be differently placed and may have shifted during his lifetime, but because of them he has some things in common with recent Japanese artist-photographers, especially those of his generation. This is a brief investigation of those things.

Bio: Lora Senechal Carney is an art historian who teaches in the Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Toronto at Scarborough. She writes about modern and contemporary Canadian and U.S. artists.

Panelist: Martha Hanna Title: Four Photographic Works: the eye in the landscape, Van Gogh and the Bird of Paradise, 13 Cameras/Vancouver, and Pacific Windows. Abstract: The four works made between 1970 and 1990 will be considered for what they reveal about Roy Kiyooka’s use of photography, his collaborative impulse, and his personal vision.

Bio: Martha Hanna is the author of many exhibitions and publications on contemporary Canadian photography, among them: Words and Images (1980); Evergon (1971-1987); Banff Souvenir (1992); Suzy Lake: Point of Reference (1993); and Eldon Garnet: The Fallen Body (1998). She has been Director of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, an affiliate of the National Gallery of Canada, since 1994.

Panelist: Sheryl Conkelton Title: The sad and glad tidings of the floating world. Abstract: Roy Kiyooka’s abrupt turning away from painting toward poetry and photography was marked, to use John O’Brian’s works, by “the urgency of testimony and witnessing.” Kiyooka’s works resonate as narrative pieces of ordinary life but retain a modernist’s sense of rupture and construction as well as a sense of revisionist mission. This brief consideration of the serial photographic essays will focus on Kiyooka’s construction of these biographical and diaristic works and his conception and use of different types of artistic order.

Bio: Sheryl Conkelton is the Senior Curator at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, and has been as associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Among her publications are monographs on Annette Messager, Catherine Wagner, Aaron Siskind and Frederick Sommer, as well as an upcoming volume on Uta Barth.

Panelist: Scott Toguri McFarlane Title: Un-ravelling the Secret Glove of the Archive. Abstract: Kiyooka’s StoneDGloves is comprised of poetry and photographs of gloves cast away by workmen who were building the Canadian Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka. I discuss the work’s ‘un-ravelling’ of these archival projects: Expo, whose pavilions represent the archaic belonging necessary to nationalism but dubious for a Japanese Canadian representing Canada in Japan; Kiyooka’s personal history, a genealogical project very familiar with the labour buried within the discourse of both the Japanese and Canadian nation; and that strange photographic collection of gloves whose hollow forms point to a labour not there. Amidst the dirt and detritus of Expo’s foundation, StoneDGloves tumble and cup a stage of the world and the words of the poems.

Bio: Scott Toguri McFarlane is a writer and editor living in Montreal. He is the co-founder of the Pomelo Project, a production house for the arts which organized City at the End of Time: Hong Kong 1997, a series of art exhibitions, poetry readings, public talks and publications engaging with Hong Kong culture. He was one of the organizers for “Writing thru Race,’‘ a national conference for First Nations writers and writers of colour. He is completing his PhD in the English Department at Simon Fraser University.

Panelist: Michael de Courcy Title: Voice / Roy Kiyooka, 1999 (40 min.). Abstract: Michael de Courcy will premiere his video, on Roy Kiyooka.

Bio: Michael de Courcy is a photographer and artist. He has exhibited throughout Canada and the U.S. and has been active in the Vancouver art scenesince “Intermedia”.

4:15 — 5:15 p.m. Round Table Moderator: Roy Miki (bio above)

Participant: John O’Brian (bio above)

Bio: Sharla Sava is a writer and curator whose work deals with the history of performance and media art in Canada and abroad. She is currently preparing for an exhibition of Ray Johnson’s work for the Belkin Gallery. In 1996 she curated an exhibition of the videotapes of the French Fluxus artist Robert Filliou. Sava is a doctoral candidate in the School of Communications at Simon Fraser University.

Bio: Scott Watson is a writer, curator and teacher of Canadian and international contemporary art. He has published extensively including a book about the late Jack Shadbolt (Douglas & McIntyre, 1990) and most recently, a monograph on Stan Douglas (Phaidon Books, 1998). He is the Director/Curator at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and an Associate Professor in the Fine Arts Department at the University of British Columbia.

Acknowledgements: The conference is organized by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Forum Society and the Charles H. Scott Gallery. The project is made possible by the support from the Canada Council for the Arts; the Canadian Studies Program at the University of British Columbia; Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design; the Joan Carlisle-Irving Lectures Fund, Dept. of Fine Arts, University of British Columbia; Claudia Beck and Andrew Gruft; Joe Friday, Dale R. Percy; Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, a national law firm with offices in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto; Aragon Development; Project A and the Western Front.

Conference Committee: Catriona Jeffries, Catriona Jeffries Gallery; Daphne Marlatt, Victoria, BC; John O’Brian, Vancouver Art Forum Society; Michael Ondaatje, Toronto, Ont. Cate Rimmer, Charles H. Scott Gallery; Naomi Sawada, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery; Christine Wallace, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery; Scott Watson, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery; Mary Williams, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689