Kiyoko L. Higashi

On January 27, 2021, Kiyo Higashi died peacefully at her home in Los Angeles.

Kiyoko Lynn Higashi was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1934. Her father Joe Senichi Uyetake and mother Kazuko owned and operated a dry goods store. Kiyo lived with her parents and sisters Shizue (Sue) and Tomiko (Tomi) until the beginning of World War II when the family was ordered to move from their home and sent to Japanese internment camps first at Tule Lake, Calif., then Jerome, Ark. After the war the family relocated to Los Angeles.

In 1956 Kiyo graduated from UCLA, married her husband Robert and started both a family and a career as a teacher. She taught at schools in the Los Angeles area including University Elementary School. While raising three daughters, she studied drawing and painting at UCLA and collected the work of many contemporary artists working in Southern California, with an emphasis on minimal art.

She founded Kiyo Higashi Gallery in West Hollywood in 1987 and for the next 14 years the gallery exhibited work by both emerging and established artists. Kiyo was known for her strong aesthetic and friendships within the community. She defined her passion for minimalism in a 1997 Los Angeles Times interview: “It’s art you must participate in to appreciate, and you have to slow down to absorb it. Being involved with minimalism changed my perception of myself and everything else.”

Kiyo was predeceased by sisters Tomiko Akahori, Yoshiko Uyetake and brother Keiso Uyetake. In addition to her husband Robert she is survived by her daughters Taryn, Kelly and Dorré; grandson Taro; sister Sue Miyazaki; and brother Kenji Uyetake.