After 36 years at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV), renowned Asian Arts curator Barry Till has announced his retirement.
Jon Tupper, director of the AGGV says that Till “really has put this gallery on the map.”
“He has made this one of the most important Asian collection galleries in Canada, and perhaps around the world,” Tupper said.
Till will become the gallery’s first Curator Emeritus when he retires at the end of September.
“I got my degree at University of Saskatchewan, and then I started my PhD at Oxford, and part way through my studies I was awarded a scholarship to China where I went for three years,” Till said.
Till studied archaeology and history in China. Then took a job at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
“And then shortly thereafter, this job came up,” Till said.
That was 1981, and he’s been at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria ever since.
“When I arrived it was largely very strong in Japanese art. We have one of the best, if not the best, Japanese art collections in Canada.”
Till wanted to enlarge the Chinese art collection.
“He’s a brilliant, brilliant curator,” says Tupper. “A brilliant art historian, so he’s been fantastic for us. Really great for the gallery, and for the city.”
And while it was hard to make the decision to retire, Till says that “I’m starting to feel it’s time for new blood. But my heart remains here.
“And if I’m going to remain here as a Curator Emeritus, I can help with any donations, and will continue to try and build up the collection and make it even more spectacular.”