contour 556

More news about Canberra’s new public art festival  – to run Friday 21st October to Sunday 13th November 2016.

contour 556 is Canberra’s new public art festival featuring the works of 50 local, national and international artists on display from the National Library of Australia, across the National Gallery of Australia’s Sculpture Garden and Lake Burley Griffin foreshore, through Bowen Park to the Kingston Arts Precinct.

The contour 556 team have announced news about Canberra’s new public art festival, now to including:

  • the online publication of a comprehensive education resource,
  • the inclusion of Contoured Poetry to the events program and
  • Canberra Airport’s Acquisitive Prize.


On the 21st of October, at the opening of contour 556, the winner of Canberra Airport’s $30,000 Acquisitive Prize will be announced.
Through their partnership with contour 556, Canberra Airport demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the Canberra community and a passion for arts and culture.

Managing Director, Stephen Byron said “Canberra Airport has set out from the beginning to show that an airport can be so much more than simply a piece of national transport infrastructure. Our program of commissioned public art is an important part of that approach”.

There are currently fourteen pieces across the terminal and Brindabella Business Park – with more to come. With world-class artwork; an award-winning design, inviting, interesting spaces and landscapes, Canberra Airport reflects Canberra’s emerging reputation as the ‘capital of cool’.


A comprehensive educational resource is now available on the contour 556 website to assist teachers of primary, secondary and tertiary students engage in the festival.

The resource features all exhibited works, a reflective statement from each artist, adaptable individual and group activities that link with the Australian Curriculum: The Arts (Visual Arts, Drama, Dance, Music, Media Arts), linked to the strands Responding and Making.

In addition, a number of participating artists will be available to meet and talk with student groups of all ages throughout the festival.


Two new events have been added to contour 556’s program: Words on the Lake and Contoured Poetry.

Words on the Lake will feature local Canberra writers literally reading to the Lake from a repertoire of largely twentieth century poets who they feel should be more well known, from countries that people think they know but maybe don’t – including John Berryman, James K. Baxter, Hone Tuwhare, Medbh McGuckian and Nuala ni Dhomnaill.

Contoured Poetry will feature contemporary Australian poets reading original work, including three Canberra poets:

Paul Magee author of Stone Postcard (2014), Cube Root of Book (2006) and the prose monograph From Here to Tierra del Fuego (2000). He is currently working on a fourth book, Suddenness: On Rapid Knowledge. Cube Root of Book was shortlisted for the Innovation Award at the 2008 Adelaide Festival Awards for the Arts, while Stone Postcard was named in Australian Book Review as one of the books of the year for 2014.

Paul Collis is a Barkindji man, creative writer, academic and poet who has a doctorate in writing from the University of Canberra for his novel, Invisible. Paul has short stories coming out in Westerly. Invisible, a Koori noir, was 60,000 years in the making.

Niloofar Fanaiyan is currently a Donald Horne Creative and Cultural Research Fellow at the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra, where she recently obtained her PhD. She writes poetry and short fiction, and her first book of poetry, Transit, is published this year by Recent Work Press.

A full schedule of festival events will be available on the contour 556 website –

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