Canberra Art Biennial is Canberra’s biennial public art festival.

The artworks have as a height datum contour 556, the water level of Lake Burley Griffin, which links the event in name as well as in purpose to the history of the central Canberra landscape. The artworks and installations selected for the festival respond in some way to Canberra’s history, from 65,000 years to the present day. Canberra Art Biennial will therefore offers the Canberra, Australian and international community a unique opportunity to engage with and understand the layers of Canberra’s history through art.


The Team

Neil Hobbs

Neil is a landscape architect and director of Harris Hobbs Landscapes, a Canberra based landscape architectural firm that has operated for over 30 years. In his practice he integrates art into the public realm, through memorial design, commissioned works, artwork installation, and collaborating with temporary events in the art and design field.

Neil was the curator of Sculpture in the garden, at Lambrigg, in 2013, and was the curator of contour 556 2016 and 2018, which began as part of his PhD research that focused on the transformation of space into place, through temporary art interventions.

He has strong community and design involvement as a board member variously of: The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (2004-2013), president (2007-2009 and 2013); Open Gardens Australia Southern NSW/ACT Region (2003-2013) and Chair (2008–2011); The Gallery of Australian Design (Now the Alastair Swayn Foundation), since 2008; Capital Arts Patrons Organisation, 2012 – 2020; and Australian National Capital Artists Inc, (2014 2019).

He is committed to the development of the ACT and regions Visual Arts sector through philanthropic activities such as the 2014 and 2017 Canberra Grammar School Small Sculpture Prize, and the ANU School of Arts and Design Harris Hobbs materials award to a post graduate student (awarded each year since 2007).

Tegan Garnett

Tegan is an arts worker and early career curator living and working on the unceded lands of the Ngunnawal, Ngunawal and Ngambri people. In her practice Tegan reflects on community, resisting normative discourses, and queering processes to inform how she initiates connective events and conversations. Her current role at Canberra Glassworks has afforded her the opportunity to incorporate a glass lens into her practice, with ongoing investigation into queerness in glass.

Christine Wallace

Dr Chris Wallace is Associate Professor, 50/50 By 2030 Foundation, Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra, where she is concerned with structural solutions for gender equity in public sector leadership and political representation. Wallace works in modern and contemporary political, international and global history with special reference to leadership, transnational lives, and transformational change and the information strategies underlying it.

She is the author of several books including a historicisation of the Australian Labor Party’s 2019 federal election loss, How To Win An Election (2020); a biography of maverick feminist Germaine Greer, Greer, Untamed Shrew (1997); a biography of the then crusading neoliberal policy exponent John Hewson during his Opposition leadership in the early 1990s, Hewson: A Portrait (1993); an exploration of the intense 30 year-long relationship between cricketer Don Bradman and his confidante, journalist Rohan Rivett, The Private Don (2004); and on the left-wing Canberra poster collective, Megalo, Megalomania: 33 years of posters made at Megalo Print Studio 1980-2013 (2013). She is a Visiting Fellow at the National Centre of Biography, School of History ANU, and an associate of the ANU Centre for Digital Humanities. Wallace is the National Archives of Australia Cabinet Historian 2020-2022.

Dean Cross

Dean Cross was born and raised on Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country and a Worimi man through his paternal bloodline.

He is a paratactical artist interested in collisions of materials, ideas and histories. He is motivated by the understanding that his practice sits within a continuum of the oldest living culture on Earth – and enacts First Nations sovereignty through expanded contemporary art methodologies. He hopes to traverse the poetic and the political in a nuanced choreography of form and ideas.

Dean has exhibited widely across the Australian continent and beyond and his work is held by major institutions including The Art Gallery of South Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Heide Museum and The Powerhouse Museum.

George Katheklakis

George is the Managing Director of KDN Group, a local Canberra based business that specialises in Property Development, Management and Investment. With experience in the Australian property and design sector that spans over 25 years, George remains driven in the delivery of excellent design and urban environments that support and promote sustainable and integrated communities at all levels.

Recent award winning developments George has directed include Linq Apartments in Belconnen, a 248 unit apartment development promoting high quality design and energy efficient apartments surrounding an internal deep root garden courtyard, and Winyu House in Gungahlin Town Centre, housing the ACT Government in an atrium centred office environment that promotes abundant daylighting of the workplace and the transparent visual and physical connectedness between Government administration and community.

George’s substantial contributions to the property sector both locally and at the National level have been acknowledged with the award of Honorary Life Membership to the Property Council of Australia. He actively promotes the incorporation of locally based art installations into the built environment and is a staunch supporter of Canberra as the Nation’s symbolic, political and cultural heart.

Heeseon Jung

Heeseon Jung is a Landscape technician at Harris Hobbs Landscapes (HHL) and assists the team in realising their visions in technical and visually appealing drawings. She is well-versed in industry design tools to produce concepts and detailed design documentation, as well as web / print publications for HHL and affiliated events such as contour 556.

Heeseon’s unique background warrants a very strong design-led approach to executing and supporting business and projects. Her strong management and creative expertise is demonstrated by the high caliber work she has helped to produce in Canberra’s urban and artistic spaces.

Heeseon helped curate the 2020 and 2022 Canberra Art Biennial, managing the design, production, and maintenance of the festival’s website as well as any social media, and publication materials. Heeseon is passionate about design and how it affects the physical world we interact in.

Jordan Evans-Tse

Jordan Evans-Tse is a multidisciplinary designer at Place Logic, a local urban design and landscape architecture firm. Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has always felt a deep connection to this city, its rolling hills, and public open spaces and to the cultural institutions that also call Canberra home. Human-centred and sustainable design principles are key to her design practice and she is a proponent of projects that celebrate the unique characteristics of our Nation’s Capital. Since graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, Jordan has applied her transferable and diverse skill set to landscape architecture, interior architecture, exhibition, and graphic design projects both locally and internationally.

Through her work as a freelance exhibition designer, Jordan has designed exhibitions for multiple galleries and museums across Australia and internationally. Recent exhibitions include Terminus by Jess Johnson and Simon Ward at the National Gallery of Australia, Heide MOMA (Vic), Tauranga Art Gallery (NZ) and The Dowse Art Museum, (NZ), Neon Meat Dream at Nanzuka Underground (Japan) and Don’t Stop Now: Fashion Photography Next at Fotografiemuseum (the Netherlands).

Jordan is well connected to Canberra’s arts community having worked at several of Canberra’s design, arts and cultural institutions including the Gallery of Australian Design, the Canberra Glassworks, and the National Gallery of Australia. Whilst working for Neil Hobbs and Karina Harris at Harris Hobbs Landscapes, Jordan became involved in the inaugural 2016 contour 556 festival and in 2018 she was involved in the design and production of the festival’s graphic, exhibition, and promotional material. Jordan is now involved in the festival in a new capacity as a member of the contour 556 board.

Karina Harris

Karina is a landscape architect and director of Harris Hobbs Landscapes, a Canberra based landscape architectural firm that has operated for over 30 years. In their practice they integrates art into the public realm, through memorial design, commissioned works, artwork installation, and collaborating with temporary events in the art and design field.

She has strong community and design involvement as Chapter President of The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (2012-2014) and a board member of Canberra Contemporary Art Space since 2008. She is committed to the development of the ACT and regions Visual Arts sector through philanthropic activities such as the 2014 and 2017 Canberra Grammar School Small Sculpture Prize, and the ANU School of Arts and Design Harris Hobbs materials award to a post graduate student (awarded each year since 2007).

Kevin Miller

Kevin Miller is a director of CCJ Architects which is an evolution of Collard Clarke Jackson, an architectural practice established in Canberra in the 1960s. CCJ has completed a number of public, community and arts related projects in Canberra and the surrounding region including (recently) the Link at Strathnairn Arts, GAD at Commonwealth Place, refurbishment of Goulburn Regional Gallery and the refurbishment of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. The practice actively pursues environmental best practice and the incorporation of artworks within its large range of project types.

Kevin is also a practicing photographic artist and recently completed a PHD in visual arts at the School of Art and Design at the ANU, a research project that incorporates examples of unique site specific artworks from Japan. He has been a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize and the Olive Cotton award, and has been a regular exhibitor at ArtNotApart. He has also participated in a number of community and environmental arts projects such as Engaging Visions and the centenary of Canberra project, Unmade Edges – Distinctive places.

Melissa Evans

Melissa brings over 20 years of experience in Graphic Design, Marketing, and Communications. As a proud 4th generation Canberran, Melissa has deep-rooted connections to the Canberra Region and its community.

Melissa holds extensive qualifications, including an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design and a Diploma in Digital Marketing from the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing. She is also recognized as a Fellow Certified Practicing Marketer by the Australian Marketing Institute.

Currently, Melissa serves as the Head of Marketing & Communication for Capital Airport Group, overseeing a diverse portfolio of brands, including Canberra Airport, Airport Business Parks, Majura Park Shopping Centre, Constitution Place, Denman Prospect, The Snow Foundation, and Snow Medical. Her experience spans across various industries, including sport, aviation, commercial property, retail, land development, and philanthropy.

Capital Airport Group has sponsored Contour 556 since 2016, showcasing Melissa’s commitment to supporting the Canberra sculpture event through her professional role.

Phillip Keir

Phillip worked in theatre and performance in New York, London and Cologne before joining Sydney Theatre Company as Associate Director. In 1987 he developed NextMedia, a consumer magazine company, which went on to become the 5th largest consumer magazine company in Australia, publishing popular culture titles including Rolling Stone Australia. Recently Phillip founded Verity Lane Market in Canberra City.

He established the Keir Foundation to provide grant support to the arts and human rights. The Foundation is active in commissioning new work with an international dimension in the areas of Visual Arts and Dance.

He has served on the boards of the London International Festival of Theatre, Aerowaves and the Power Institute of Sydney University and the Biennale of Sydney.

Phillip has had a particular interest in contemporary dance since studying at the Merce Cunningham studios in the late 70s.

Vanessa Gstrein

Dr Vanessa Gstrein is a social scientist who has worked in the public, not-for-profit, and higher education sectors. She has experience, nationally and internationally, in the fields of social policy and public health with a focus on HIV and injecting drug use, gambling harm, and sexual health. This includes roles with the Australian Government (AusAID), the ACT Government and the not-for-profit sector. Vanessa has also worked in both an academic and professional capacity in a number of universities, including as a Senior Advisor, Strategy and Planning at the University of Tasmania, and more recently as Senior Research Fellow at the University of Canberra.

Vanessa was awarded her PhD from Ulster University in 2019. Her thesis presented her comparative international study of illicit drug policy in Australia and Canada focusing on drug consumption rooms and the barriers to replicating controversial public policy. Vanessa has also co-authored an evaluation of forced labour in the cotton industry in Uzbekistan for the Corruption and Human Rights Initiative and published on drug policy and citizenship education in Northern Ireland.

In recognition of her expertise, Vanessa was appointed as a Director of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT in 2022.

Verity Hawkins

Verity is a senior executive who has led non-profit organisations, social impact programs and led transformational change projects in the for-purpose, corporate responsibility, and financial services sectors. Currently CEO of Cancer Council ACT, Verity has more than 25 years of experience in organisations including Lifeline, YWCA, and HSBC Bank.  She began her early career in the art world, working in commercial galleries in Sydney.

Verity served on the board of UN Women Australia for six years, including three as Company Secretary, where her role involved setting the organisation’s strategic purpose in line with UN Women HQ in New York, and monitoring progress towards achieving the strategic direction.  Verity represented UN Women Australia at national and international meetings including with the federal government, corporate partners, and other UN Women National Committees globally.

Verity has been involved with contour 556 as a volunteer since the inaugural festival in 2016.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and French literature from the University of Sydney (1994), is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2015), a Life Member of YWCA Australia, and has been a volunteer at the Canberra Writers Festival since 2017.