Derek Michael Besant

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Derek Michael Besant (born 1950 in Alberta) is a Canadian artist living in Calgary, Alberta.


Besant studied at University of Calgary, where he received a BFA Honours in 1973 and continued with Graduate Studies in 1974. He was Exhibitions Designer for The Glenbow Museum between 1973 -1977. He designed exhibitions throughout the art gallery and museum spaces, along with catalogues and travelling exhibitions. The Alberta College of Art and Design invited him to teach in the Drawing / Fine Arts Department in 1977. He has taught there ever since for the past thirty years. He was the Head of the Drawing Department between 1979 – 1991.[citation needed]

He won the Alberta Governor General Award in Art 1980, the World Culture Prize in Research Arts & Letters from Milan Italy in 1983, a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999 from University of Calgary and The Smithsonian Museum of the Americas Portfolio Award in Boston in 2005.

Some of his public commissions include: The Flatiron Mural in 1980 behind Toronto’s landmark Gooderham flatiron building on Front Street, Waterfall at 15 storeys high inside the atrium of Scotia Plaza at King & Bay in 1989, two murals for Worldwide Centre at 58th and 8th Manhattan Cineplex New York City in 1989, and Train of Thought, a series of portraits at the uOttawa station of the Ottawa O-Train.[1]

Besant's exhibitions have included: Representing Canada in the Sharjah Biennial in 2003, United Arab Emirates, University of London Goldsmiths College, Tokyo Media-Art Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Japan, the 2004 SIGGRAPH International Conference on Computer Imaging + Interactive Technologies, Los Angeles in 2004.


An investigation has been ordered by the City of Calgary into allegations that Besant plagiarized the content of a public art installation for which he received $20,000 (CDN) in municipal funds.[2][3]



  1. ^ "O-Train Confederation Line". City of Ottawa. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  2. ^ Learmonth, Andrew. "Calgary artist accused of stealing Edinburgh Fringe comics' photos for $20k art project". The National. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  3. ^ News, BBC. "Artist sorry for using comedians' faces in underpass art". BBC News. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  4. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013.