Garry Neill Kennedy (1935-2021)

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Garry Neill Kennedy, one of Canada’s most prominent visual artists and educators.

Kennedy began teaching printed matter in 1990, first at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) for over forty years, where he also served as president (1967-1990), and then in the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory (AHVA) from 2013 to 2019 as adjunct professor with Cathy Busby.  While with AHVA, Kennedy and Busby warmly shared their rich personal archive and collection with UBC community members from their studio at the Audain Art Centre and taught the special topics printed matter course, VISA 370; the advanced open studio, VISA 401; and VISA 481: Advanced Seminar II.  In addition, Kennedy was a visiting professor at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in the 1970s, and Ēcole des Beaux Arts in Paris (ENSB-A) in 1995.

Kennedy had solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the National Gallery of Canada, the 49th Parallel Gallery (New York), the Tasmanian School of Art Gallery (Hobart, Australia), Glaeri II (Reykjavik, Iceland), the Owens Art Gallery, Portikus (Frankfurt) and many others. In 2003, he was a recipient of the Order of Canada and in 2004, the Governor General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts and in 2000, the Portia White Prize.

Recent exhibition of Garry Neill Kennedy’s collection at GRIFFIN.

The Coast, Halifax’s Weekly has published an obituary here.


Photo: Meghan Tansey Whitton


A message from Dana Claxton, Head and Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory:

Garry Kennedy – super nova! Lived a life of art. What he saw, he shared with us. A rarity he was – a rarity he be. Making / doing / teaching. AHVA was privileged to have him teach our visual art students as an elder / significant practitioner / professor. Garry, our AHVA community was enriched by you – as were the art communities in Vancouver, in Canada, and abroad. Grateful to have met you. Shine on, dear artist!

We send our love and deepest heart felt condolences to your loved ones, family, and Cathy Busby.