Artist and musician Reg Mombassa will use his unique vision and absurdist humour to help Sydney Shine even brighter as Creative Ambassador for 2013 Sydney New Year’s Eve.
Among the motifs created by the Glebe resident to characterise Australia’s biggest public event are a high-rise Sydney Opera House and a single ‘all-seeing eye’ to represent the 2013 theme, Shine.
Mr Mombassa’s illustrations for NYE13 will adorn banners, buses and bus-stops across the city in the lead up to the event and will also feature in the much-anticipated and top-secret Bridge Effect, which is only revealed at midnight on 31 December.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Mr Mombassa was admired for his work with Mambo clothing, pop-rock bands Mental as Anything and Dog Trumpet, as well as the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony.
“Reg is one of Australia’s greatest living artists and cultural exports who cleverly combines thoughtful insights with a signature irreverence, which reflects our life and culture,” the Lord Mayor said.
“His work is bold and colourful with an absurdist humour that brings a smile to people’s faces, so his unique vision is a perfect match for our biggest event.
“It will be fantastic to see his striking designs across Sydney and I can’t wait to see his rope-light Bridge Effect during the fireworks displays.”
Mr Mombassa, 61, worked with the City of Sydney’s NYE team and Imagination Australia to develop the theme and said it was exciting to be working on an event that reached more than one billion people worldwide.
“It has been an interesting and challenging job designing artwork for what is arguably the biggest party in the world,” Mr Mombassa said.
“I have used the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House quite extensively in previous pictures so it was a familiar and attractive proposition to do something based on the harbour.
“Sydney NYE is an inspiring and happy event where people get the opportunity to have a big party and enjoy their city at its best. I hope people enjoy the Shine theme. Some of the stuff that I do can be mildly confrontational but I have stayed away from that and produced images to suit the occasion, which is a family-friendly and fun-filled event, and it should stay that way.”
Mr Mombassa has been busy in his studio for the past six months working on drawings to reflect the Shine theme, as well as four panoramic works featuring his interpretation of Sydney’s villages.
Sydneysiders have the opportunity to see these works up close at Mr Mombassa’s new exhibition, Hallucinatory Anthropomorphism … Semi-Abstract Paraphysical Manifestations of the Collective Unconscious, which opens on Wednesday 19 June at Watters Gallery, 109 Riley Street, East Sydney. The exhibition runs until Saturday 6 July.
Mr Mombassa has also created tailor-made artworks for Sydney’s smartpole banners, which will bring art and colour to the city’s streets in the lead-up to NYE13.
The NYE13 Shine theme reflects a city where the sun, water and people all shine, while Mr Mombassa’s ‘all-seeing eye’ motif aims to encourage individualism while also representing Sydneysiders’ singular vision to live harmoniously.
“When I thought about the word Shine there seemed to be so many options but in the end I decided to go with the eye,” Mr Mombassa said.
“The eyes are the most interesting part of the human face and there is that idea of the eye being the window to the soul, as well as the spiritual aspect of the third eye, from which shines an invisible metaphysical laser beam.”
Last year’s Creative Ambassador was pop princess Kylie Minogue, who encouraged Sydneysiders to Embrace and the 2011 Creative Headliner was designer Marc Newson, who had a Time to Dream theme.
The annual event attracts about 1.6 million people to the Sydney Harbour foreshore, while about 2.6 million people watch the 9PM Family Fireworks and Midnight Fireworks displays on television.
Sydney NYE is also the single most important event, related to economic return in Sydney, generating about $156 million for the local economy.
For more information, visit sydneynewyearseve.com