Natalia Lebedinskaia is the new Director of Public Projects at the Vancouver Biennale. She is responsible for overseeing the realization and installation of Vancouver Biennale’s Open Air Museum.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Natalia held the position of Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba for six years before moving to Vancouver. From 2015 to 2018, Natalia was a lead curator on LandMarks2017, a Canada 150 Signature Project that brought contemporary art to National Parks throughout Canada. In her LandMarks2017 project, Coalescence, she worked with Michael Belmore to realize a three-part stone sculpture spanning two provinces and thousands of miles in a reflection on migration, resilience, and geological time. She holds an MA in Art History and a BFA in Art History & Studio Art from Concordia University.
Contact natalia [at] vancouverbiennale.com
Director of Operations
Sammi Wei is a serial entrepreneur whose career focused on project management and strategic growth in the creative industries. Her commitment to the Vancouver Biennale is to create unforgettable experiences based in art as a legacy for the community.
Having split her childhood between Vancouver and beautiful Yangzhou, China, Sammi is passionate about bridging cultures as she has done with her own cultural identities. Sammi holds a BCom from UBC Sauder School of Business, where she double majored in Finance and Real Estate.
Michael Suh (Duozhuang Su)
Senior Curator for Asia
Michael Suh carries years of experience as Executive Director for the Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing. Other prominent positions include founder and director of the vibrARTion Project, Deputy Director for International Coordination, China Sculpture Institute, ISC Member of International Committee, KAO (Kinetic Art Organization) Executive Director for China. Major activities include Beijing Olympic Sculpture Project, Yuzi Paradise International Sculpture Project (one of the first sculpture projects involving international artists to work in China for larger sculpture commissions), NordArt China Pavilion for Chinese Cultural Year in Germany, Forms of the Formless: Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art, A Passage to the Alps: Chinese Artists in St. Urban and “Critical Connections” celebrating the 65th Anniversary of China-Switzerland Partnerships.
Michael Suh is currently Guest Professor at the Guangxi Normal University School of Fine Arts.
BIG IDEAS Coordinator
Jessa Alston-O’Connor is the coordinator of BIG IDEAS, the Vancouver Biennale’s education programs for schools in BC and beyond, and she develops new learning opportunities with other Biennale projects. As an art educator and art historian, she brings over 15 years of experience in developing, facilitating and teaching art history and art education programs in museums and arts organization across Canada including the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her work lies in the gaps between artwork and audience, and her focus is always to help make art engaging and accessible for anyone. She holds an MA in Art History from Concordia University, and is also an instructor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Whether in a university classroom, in a museum, or outdoors with public art, her focus is to create programs and experiences for meaningful connections between art and diverse publics—because art is for everyone.
Contact learning[at] vancouverbiennale.com
Community Outreach Coordinator
Lori Lai is a conceptual artist based in Vancouver, BC. She received her formal education and training at Simon Fraser University, graduating with a BFA in Contemporary and Visual Art.
Lori is always thinking about, and working towards new ways to support the arts, seeking to bring artistic communities together and rethink creative survival in the artistic climate.
As an artist, she is interested in the visceral implications of digital culture on society and dependence on technology as a coping mechanism. She works with bio/materials to create strange sculptures.
Programming & Engagement Specialist
Brian Lau has a professional background in advertising and event management. Prior to entering the art world, Brian was a marketing consultant and account executive at a creative agency in Toronto. He holds a BCom in Marketing and International Business from McGill University. Brian has expanded his knowledge of the international art landscape through experiences at Columbia University in New York and the Sorbonne in Paris. He is fascinated by how contemporary and historic art spark important conversations and social action in the public realm. Next year, he looks forward to starting his master’s program in curatorial studies at Parsons.
Contact brian [at] vancouverbiennale.com
Special Project Coordinator - BIKEnnale/WALKennale
David Meeker is a recent transplant from Toronto, Ontario, with a love for aerial videography, community engagement, and environmental education. After completing his undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, David worked several seasons for Parks Canada and YMCA Camps where he shared his passion for the environment with young adults in the hopes of inspiring new climate change leaders. David is tapping into his 8+ years of experience as a bike commuter and mountain biking enthusiast to design a safe, fun, and educational BIKEnnale/WALKennale event for all Vancouverites to enjoy this summer.
If you have any questions or comments concerning the event David can be reached at bikennale [at] vancouverbiennale.com
Ammar has been working as the Director of Public Projects at the Vancouver Biennale from 2013 to 2018. Prior to this he worked as a program consultant for the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Mumbai from 2011-2013, as part of an international interdisciplinary team. He was also the Education Officer at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, where he developed visitor outreach programming. Ammar studied Anthropology & History at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Contact ammar [at] vancouverbiennale.com