City News

Mr Mambo eyes up New Year’s Eve

"The eye is like the soul": Reg Mombassa. Photo: Chris Peken

The distinctive artwork of Reg Mombassa will decorate the city as he takes on the role of New Year’s Eve cultural ambassador.

Mr Mombassa has had a long and varied artistic career. He is a Mambo artist, has had numerous solo exhibitions of his paintings, worked on graphics for the 2000 Olympics, and played with Mental As Anything and Dog Trumpet over 30 years.

Mr Mombassa, a long-time Glebe resident, said he was honoured to be asked.

“It was very nice of them to ask me. It’s the kind of job I would imagine quite a few artists would like to do, so I was pleased to be asked,” he said.

The role of cultural ambassador involves creating artworks for the events surrounding NYE13.

“It’s really doing banners proclaiming the event, which they’ve just started hanging around the city now I believe, doing a logo and contributing some of the ideas for the fireworks,” Mr Mombassa said.

The iconic artist has designed an eye logo along with a range of accompanying imagery that express this year’s theme, “shine”.

“The eye is like the soul, or the spirit shines through the eyes supposedly, and eyes are sort of shiny and a bit wet, looking like the harbour,” he told City News.

“I did four panoramics, some of them have got the city in the background, one of them has the harbour bridge. It’s sort of like looking through gum trees with eyes.”

The City of Sydney said the design represents a harmonious city.

“Mr Mombassa’s ‘all-seeing eye’ motif aims to encourage individualism while also representing Sydneysiders’ singular vision to live harmoniously,” a spokesperson said.

Mr Mombassa attended last year’s New Year’s Eve celebration on the harbour and recalled it was a family-friendly event.

“It was a great party, there were more than a million people there all having a good time peacefully. It was very pleasant family entertainment I thought,” he said.

One of the founding members of Mental as Anything, he has recently been touring with his current band Dog Trumpet.

“We released a double album about three or four months ago and we’ve been touring around promoting that, so that’s keeping me busy on the musical front,” Mr Mombassa said.

The official charity partner for NYE13 is Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a not-for-profit organisation specialising in humanitarian engineering work in both communities overseas and indigenous communities in Australia.

“It’s our opportunity to showcase…the important role of engineering and technology in fighting poverty,” said Lizzie Brown, the charity’s chief executive officer.

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