William Allister 1919 – 2008
William Allister was a painter, documentary filmmaker, novelist, scriptwriter, commercial artist and actor who was born in Benito, Manitoba, Canada and grew up in Montreal. He subsequently lived in Los Angeles (1946), New York (1949), San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (1962) and B.C., Canada (1969), where he died in the town of Tsawwassen, his home for 20 years. His medium is primarily acrylic on canvas. His styles abstract and figurative expressionist. His subjects often landscapes or floral.
His formal artistic training was in drama (1940) and painting at the Instituto Allende (1962) in Mexico.
He has been painting professionally since 1949. He has had over 30 one-man shows in venues such as the University of British Columbia, the Richmond Art Gallery (B.C.) the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.) and the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. His work is sold in major galleries.
It must also be noted that he spent 44 months as a Canadian soldier POW captive of the Japanese during World War Two; an experience which was documented in his Memoir Where Life And Death Hold Hands (1989) Stoddart Publishing; and the TV documentary The Art of Compassion (1993) aired on the Knowledge Network and the CBC. He also wrote the novel , A Handful of Rice (1961), published in London by Secker & Warburg, which describes the experiences of Canadian POWs captured in Hong Kong.
He is listed in The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar, published by Westbridge Publications Ltd. (4 volumes).
Prepared and Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke and P.M. Tonkin