British Columbia’s Vancouver Art Gallery has announced that chief curator and associate director Daina Augaitis will step down, after twenty years at the institution, to pursue other professional and personal interests. Augaitis will continue to collaborate with the gallery on curatorial projects.
“With her vision, intellect, and determination, Daina has been instrumental to many of the gallery’s successes over the past two decades,” director Kathleen Bartels said. We are so grateful for her significant contributions to the gallery’s curatorial program, for her commitment to artists and her curatorial rigor which is internationally recognized. She has forged an important foundation as we work towards the establishment of the new Vancouver Art Gallery.”
During her tenure at the gallery, Augaitis helped grow its exhibition programs, publications, and public-outreach initiatives, as well as its permanent collection. She curated numerous solo exhibitions of local artists such as Douglas Coupland, Geoffrey Farmer, Brian Jungen, Marianne Nicolson, and Paul Wong, as well as international artists including Kimsooja, Ann Hamilton, Gillian Wearing, Yang Fudong, and Zhu Jinshi. She also collaborated on curatorial projects such as “Mashup: The Birth of Modern Culture” (2016), “Charles Edenshaw” (2013), and “The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social” (2008).
In 2014, she received the Canadian Museum Association award for outstanding achievement in research for “Charles Edenshaw” and the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art. Internationally, she curated the Vancouver Pavilion at the Shanghai Biennale in 2012 and was the Canadian commissioner for the São Paulo Bienal in 2002, the Sydney Biennial in 2000, and the Johannesburg Biennale in 1995.
“I am very proud to have worked with a talented and dedicated team to elevate the gallery’s curatorial work as a leading visual art institution, with an international reach and a strong local impact,” Augaitis said. “Our accomplishments under Kathleen’s visionary leadership, as well as our very exciting future ahead make this move bittersweet. I will continue to follow very closely the gallery’s successes and support its ambitious endeavors.”