Renowned artist and poet, passed away peacefully, with grace and clarity on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at the age of 81 with his loving wife and partner of 39 years by his side.
Chan Ky-Yut will forever be missed by his wife Nicole Presentey. Predeceased by his father Chan Yan Tim and mother Yim Yin Wah, he also leaves behind to mourn 7 children: Gigi and Kamia Presentey and their mother Danielle, and Justin, Conrad, Isabel, Wemilo and Khema Stein and their mother Barbara. He also will be sadly missed by his siblings: brothers Kam Man, Kam Ping, Kam Ching, Kam Chun, and sisters Suk Har, Suk Ching, and Suk Tim. He was cherished by his many devoted students, friends and colleagues in Canada and abroad who will always hold his memory dear.
Many thanks go to the staff at Garden Terrace Long Term Care Home, Nurse on Board staff, as well as Dr. Juan Salcedo, Dr. Catherine Braidek and Dr. Mackenzie for their medical care. Special gratitude is given to his private caregivers Dhel Bilson, Hongdou Meng and Mei Lu, who showed extraordinary devotion over many years.
Private visitations and services will be held at Tubman Funeral Homes. Burial at Beechwood Cemetery to follow the final service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the charity of your choice. Condolences, tributes and donations may be made at www.tubmanfuneralhomes.com
Born in Panyu, Guangdong Province, China in 1940, Chan Ky-Yut moved to Canada in the 1970s and exhibited extensively in North America, Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. Both a poet and a painting master, Chan began practicing calligraphy and painting under the guidance of his grandfather at the age of three. Before he fully dedicated himself to a career in painting and other creative activities, he studied Chinese etymology and literature in graduate school. Chan Ky-Yut’s practice of Daoist, Chan (Zen), and Vajrayana (Tibetan-type) Buddhist meditation, and the art of gongfu (kung fu), deeply influenced his use of spontaneous brushwork and of colour. As an artist he kept his roots by employing traditional Chinese ink, but his exposure to EuroAmerican society encouraged him to push beyond the limitations of his own culture in search of a universal dimension. After living a secluded life in Hong Kong, his move to the west saw him explore new avenues of expression. Over the past decades, he was a prolific artist, working as a painter, a sculptor, a poet and a teacher. Rooted in the classical tradition of mastering painting, poetry and calligraphy, Chan collaborated with the literary world, illustrating artist books containing poems by such renowned figures as Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Eluard, Michel Butor, Derek Mahon or John Burnside. In all that he created, there is a sense of mastery that spans many disciplines. His work is inimitable and unique, showing that he succeeded in reaching his goal of creating art that is ‘authentic’.
Major achievements include solo exhibitions at the Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena (1996), Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2001), Musee Cernuschi, Paris (2007) and the Beijing International Art Biennale, China (2008). His work is held in public institutions around the world and in many private collections.
In 1982 Chan Ky-Yut met emerging Canadian classical pianist Nicole Presentey with whom he began a collaborative partnership based on art, music, poetry and philosophy. At first she became his muse while playing music to which he painted. Eventually she became immersed in the production, promotion and publishing of his works under her independent small press Lyric Editions, including artist books, art catalogues and unique art objects. She curated exhibitions both solo and group and wrote extensively on his work. Throughout their lives, they shared an identity of purpose, and were bonded by shared aesthetics, profound communication and love.
In 2001 the Victoria and Albert Museum requested that Chan create a piece for exhibition in the T. T. Tsui Gallery, the first showing of a living Chinese artist in that illustrious institution. “Full Moon Forever Dreaming” was the result and stayed on display for an extraordinary five years. It was on the night of the longest lunar eclipse of a full moon in centuries that the artist gently gave way for a new dream to begin.
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