Mambo Founder with original artists: Jim Mitchell, David McKay, Founder Dare Jennings, Paul McNeil, Robert Moore, Gerry Wedd.
Mambo Founder with original artists: Jim Mitchell, David McKay, Founder Dare Jennings, Paul McNeil, Robert Moore, Gerry Wedd. Amber Gibson

Mambo lives on: Iconic artists continue creating

IT is 25 years since the artists of iconic Australian clothing brand Mambo have held an exhibition together.

Last Saturday, the Lone Goat Gallery hosted founder Dare Jennings and notorious artists Jim Mitchell, Paul McNeil, David McKay, Gerry Wedd and Robert Moore to chat about their exhibition, The Destroy The World....We Have To Save the Legendary and share memories about Mambo.

McNeil, who organised the show, said the event showcased work by long-term friends.

"We are all very proud of our work with Mambo and this exhibition shows the fresh new works of each individual artist,” McNeil said.

Reminiscing during the talk shed light on the impact Mambo had on the original artists.

The brand evolved out of Dare Jennings' Phantom Screen Printing business in Sydney in the early 1980s, as a surfwear label that told Australian stories through satire, subversive vernacular and visual art.

"During this time, having an opinion and an attitude was important,” Jennings said.

He recruited the now well-known bunch of local visual artists, some of who worked at the printing factory at that time, to create what became an international brand and a movement, motivated by musics, surf and politics.

"In the end the marketing of Mambo was based on polarisation. We actively annoyed people,” Jennings said.

McNeil works with Jennings' new brand Deus Ex Machina, across clothing and hardware that celebrates his love of surfing and motorcycles.

"It dawned on me, that 20 years with Mambo was 10 years ago and it ain't going away,” McNeil said.

"As much as I forged my own career doing other things...it was always there. You are forever a Mambo artist.”

The opening show last Friday drew a crowd of local die-hard fans to show a contemporary range of paintings, graphics, ceramics and sculpture.

Mambo is recognised for loud shirts, logos, text and iconic designs.

The exhibition includes all eight renowned Mambo artists, including Matthew Martin, Reg Mombassa and Jeff Raglus, and will run until February 19 at the Lone Goat Gallery.