When Sidney Kelsie (1928—2000) retired from working as a house painter in 1979, this Edmontonian became an artist. He began to cut out decorative shapes in plywood, paint them with house paint and place them on his house, fence and in his yard. Soon Kelsie’s decorated home near Commonwealth Stadium became a local landmark that attracted many with its dizzying display of visual delight. Kelsie’s subject matter ranged from vibrantly coloured figures and common animals you would see in and around Edmonton, to aliens and mythical creatures, to completely abstract patterns in pastel colours. Drawn largely from local collections, this exhibition celebrates the joyful and wondrous work of a local folk art icon.
You can listen to an audio documentary of the exhibition as part of the AGA Listening Lab, a space to share knowledge, celebrate art and artists and connect with our communities.
The AGA’s Listening Lab presents: Sidney Kelsie
Where does creativity come from? Why are we compelled to create?
Reflect on these questions and more in our current exhibition Sidney Kelsie: Art in Your Own Backyard. Listen to our audio documentary highlighting the life and times of local legend Sidney Kelsie and be inspired to get creative! This documentary explores who the artist was, what his art meant to the Edmonton community, and how his legacy lives on. Hear from the AGA’s curators, Sidney Kelsie’s daughter, and some of the artists’ earliest supporters, including a gallery owner, a journalist, and an art critic.
A special thank you to Danielle Siemens, Lindsey Sharman, Debbie Kelsie, Wayne Mackenzie, David Staples and Nancy Tousley for contributing their stories and voices to this project.