30 years. Mambo has been around for 30 years and I’m glad that I went to check out their exhibition.

Surboards on display in the Mambo exhibition.

I headed to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for the first time this year and was stoked to see they had a Mambo exhibition on. What made this especially cool was the fact that this is the first time I’ve been to the gallery since I had work on display for Top Arts 2014. I’ve had work on display in the same space as Mambo and well yeah…

If you live in (or around) Melbourne and haven’t gone to check this exhibition out, then I recommend you make time between now and the 22nd of Feb to do so!

Walking into the exhibit, the first thing on display is an interesting video of some Mambo screen-printed shirts, spin around a carousel. From there it leads around to a collection of t-shirts with an idiosyncratic Australian sense of humour and national pride blasting through them. Of course this does shine throughout and you get that sense from start to finish.

I truly love what the curator Eddie Zammit has done with the Ian Potter Centre. He collaborated with Mambo’s original art director, Wayne Golding, and current owner Angus Kingsmill to produce this. The wallpapers look like a massive comic book style of Mambo works. As you make your way around the exhibition, your eyes are simply drawn to these. I hope I’m not spoiling everything for you but it’s simply too hard to pick the coolest bits. Have a look at the photo below to see just how impressive the place looks!

mambo bw

Tony Ellwood, director, NGV said: “the exhibition acknowledges the singular place Mambo holds in this country as a purveyor of fashion, philosophy, art and design” and he’s not wrong… 250 artists have worked for the label over the past three decades, and all 250 of them are displayed in this extensive collection of art. Yes ART. Because Mambo is an Australia brand that has turned it’s culture into a work of art, and possibly even an art movement.

Heading towards the exit of the exhibition, there’s a timeline of what Mambo has achieved (well the biggest things anyway) every year of their 30 year life. It’s incredible to learn more about the brand that started so long ago.

Rock & Roll: One of four Robert Moore panels. (2005)
Rock & Roll: One of four Robert Moore panels. (2005)

I’m going to wrap this little gift of a blog post up because I’ve got a beer to drink, but let me just say this: I’ve only cracked the surface on this exhibition. If you’re into art of any kind (probably are, that’s why you’re reading this) then you should definitely make your way to the Gallery.

I learnt a shit load at this exhibition besides just how funny and politically correct these guys are.. They’re sooo supportive of the good in our nation and the world as a whole. Like raising over $40,000 for Greenpeace and $110,000 for the National Aboriginal and Islander State Development Association.

I can only imagine you will learn a lot too!

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