Mambo Bastard Children Of Surf Culture

Rebecca Varidel
10th Mar 2015

Self-described as the ‘bastard children of surf culture’, Mambo gave rise to one of the most recognisable, authentic, vernacular, politically incorrect yet intensely political brands to rise out of the excesses of 1980s Australia. Mambo’s social commentary and political astuteness are embodied by all 250 artists that have worked for the label over the past three decades.

With its idiosyncratic Australian sense of humour and perverse national pride, our country’s most irreverent and outspoken brand - Mambo - has turned 30 years old. Following the huge success of the Mambo: 30 Years of Shelf-Indulgence exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, which saw the largest recorded number of attendees throughout the Ian Potter Centre to date, this iconic clothing label is excited to announce it will continue the celebration in a retrospective exhibition, held at aMBUSH Gallery’s new up-and-coming project space at Sydney’s newest premium property, Central Park, from 11th March 2015 to 26th April 2015.

Presented in partnership with Central Park and aMBUSH, Mambo: 30 Years of Shelf-Indulgence will celebrate Mambo’s unique contribution to art and the support and development of its eccentric team of artists and designers. It will also present a commentary on the company’s ability to identify its ‘Australian-ness’ through self-deprecating humour, and an off-handed indifference to all the usual conventions, retail and cultural.

The exhibition will feature original artwork, posters, surfboards, inflatables, in-store display units, and a 30-year timeline, plus interviews with original artists and various other cast members. It will also present artworks that were not previously shown in the Melbourne exhibit along with examples of developmental work, most of which are being exhibited for the first time.

"We are thrilled to open our new gallery space and to start our aMBUSH 8-year anniversary with an all Australian exhibition such as Mambo: 30 Years of Shelf-Indulgence,” Bill Dimas, Co-Director of aMBUSH, says. “Staying true to our intention, which is elevating our local creative industry and artists as well as making art accessible and inclusive for all audiences, Mambo's rich history of doing just that, way before us, is an inspiring story for all Australians to know and feel proud of."

Established in 1984 by founder Dare Jennings, Mambo built its foundations on an irreverent combination of art, humour, music and surf. Pitched squarely at the average Australian, under the art direction of Wayne Golding, Mambo is credited with introducing art and humour to the previously logo-driven and humour-challenged surf wear industry.

The brand’s artistic reputation and voice was solidified in 1993, when Mambo was invited by the Art Gallery of New South Wales to exhibit alongside an international collection of surrealist art in the show, Surrealism by Night. In 2000, the label reached new international heights when it was selected to design the Australian athletes’ uniforms for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games.

Guest curated by Eddie Zammit in collaboration with Mambo’s original art director, Wayne Golding, and Managing Director Angus Kingsmill, the exhibition will showcase some of the finest elements of Mambo’s creative and very distinctive identity. Zammit is also the publisher of T-world magazine, the world’s only T-shirt journal documenting graphics from the past and present.

Mambo Managing Director, Angus Kingsmill said, "On the back of the resounding success of the Mambo exhibition at the prestigious NGV, we are really thrilled to be able to showcase 30 years of brilliant art and humour in Mambo’s home city of Sydney. The aMBUSH team and curators have a few new and exciting twists and surprises which stamps their take on the exhibition within the very funky and artistic Central Park precinct.”

Mambo: 30 Years of Shelf-Indulgence will be on display at the aMBUSH Gallery, Central Park from 11th March 2015 to 26th April 2015. Entry is free.

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