The word iconic gets bandied about a bit too often these days, but no-one would dispute the iconic status of MAMBO which rose out of the early 1980s Sydney post-punk scene.
Founded by Phantom Records visionary entrepreneur Dare Jennings and drawing on the talents of self-taught outsiders, muso/visual artists, cartoonists and refugees from the Yellow House, Mambo was more an art movement than a clothing brand, built on a foundation of subversive satire, vernacular appreciation, music, surf and politics.
Initially Mambo was spearheaded by the razor-sharp graphic wit of Richard Allan and suburban observations of Paul Worstead, then later included Reg Mombassa and other madly talented artists selected by Jennings and long term art directors Wayne Golding and Bruce Slorach.
Mambo’s boundary-pushing meta-consumerist and iconoclastic approach to Australian culture took critical aim at national clichés and obsessions while mocking the dull seriousness of ‘authentic’ logo-based marketing.
Between 1984 and 2002 PME (Peak Mambo Era), a core group of around 15 Mamboartists created art, text, graphics, logos, loud shirts and schmutter that payed scant regard for selling units and more interest in turning themselves on (or the ‘squares’, off).
In spite of this disregard for the mainstream, Mambo evolved into an international brand and national icon, leading to Mambo’s art direction of the 2000 Sydney Olympics closing ceremony, team uniforms, and a series of major survey exhibitions throughout the 2000’s.
The impact and influence of Mambo continues to reverberate, with Mambo alumni continuing their celebrated and prolific ways, and a generation of kids who grew up on Mambo, now artists themselves.
In 2018 Lone Goat Gallery is proud to present new works by eight of the original and most notorious Mambo artists: Matthew Martin, David McKay, Paul McNeil, Jim Mitchell, Reg Mombassa, Robert Moore, Jeff Raglus, Gerry Wedd.
This ain’t no retrospective.
The exhibition of Mambo artists will be held at Byron’s Lone Goat Gallery until February 20.