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A personal journey: Kevin Whitaker, PHE'79

A personal journey: Kevin Whitaker, PHE'79

[photo of Kevin Whitaker at his PHE'70 reunion gathering and painting unveiling]
Garrett Elliott

Kevin Whitaker at his PHE'79 Homecoming reunion gathering at the University Club in October, with his triptych "Queen's: before, during, and after."

At the PHE’79 Homecoming reunion in October, Kevin Whitaker unveiled a triptych entitled “Queen’s: before, during, and after.” 

In his artist’s statement, he writes,

“This triptych represents a ‘moment’ in the life of a Queen’s student – each moment includes the entirety of the student’s life experience, merging ‘everything’ with ‘now.’

Before: Youth transcending

During: Discovery, delight, challenges

After: Equipped with a cornerstone to pursue any path.

“The triptych also represents my personal journey as the first person in my family to attend university. The paintings seek to capture the energy and dynamic tension of life before, during, and after Queen’s. The panels are doors that open to reveal life choices that may be made.

“I was diagnosed, in 2015, with Parkinson’s with Lewy Body Dementia. From the outset, the lessons learned from my PHE studies have served me well. As I have navigated this disease, I have learned the value of stress management to improve physiological health. In my case, the stress management has been primarily through daily exercise, a practice I cultivated at Queen’s and have maintained since, and more recently, daily painting.”

He later studied law at Osgoode Hall and practised labour law for several years. In 2010, he was appointed as a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, where he served until 2016, stepping down for health reasons.

 “I returned to painting as a way to manage the depression and anxiety of being uprooted from my career and life plans by a disease which is robbing me of physical and cognitive skills.”

The three panels will be hung in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies building where, Kevin Whitaker hopes, they will inspire students undergoing their own journeys at Queen’s.

Kevin Whitaker donates all proceeds from the sale of his paintings to research into Parkinson’s with Lewy Body Dementia. If you are interested in buying a painting, please email him at kevin.whitaker@sympatico.ca and cc. his spouse, Marie Moliner (Artsci’80) at mariemoliner88@gmail.com.

[cover illustration of The language issue of the Queen's Alumni Review]