Roy Kenzie Kiyooka was born in 1926 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He studied at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Art graduating in 1949.
In 1956 Kiyooka spent eight months in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, where he studied under James Pinto. While in Mexico he was exposed to the magnificant murals of Rivera, and Orozco among others. He began to experiment with Duco and laquer.
Following Mexico he returned to Regina and began teaching at the Regina College, now the University of Regina. His teaching career was extensive, he also taught in Montréal at Sir George Williams University, now Concordia, in Halifax at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
He participated in the São Paulo Biennial of 1966. In 1969 he was commissioned to create a sculpture to be displayed at the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 70 in Osaka.
In the early 1970's his work was focused on other forms of visual and performing arts rather than abstract painting. He also wrote a book titled, "Pear Tree Pomes" and it was nominated for the 1987 Governor General's Award.
In 1978, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also a member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
He died in 1994.