MONA FOMA Thinks Big

A cornucopia of arts and entertainment that starts at the Cataract Gorge, follows routes through the city, taking in the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market, city parks and late night venues to culminate at the Inveresk precinct for a celebration of music, dance, art and food is about to start.

This award winning music and arts carnival is settling into its new home in the north of the State and this Saturday sees the start of the MONA Festival Of Music and Art which runs from the 13th to 20th January in Launceston.

The MONA FOMA extravaganza will embrace the whole Launceston community, showcasing local talent alongside international artists for a week of fun, dance, food, music and art.

Mona Foma curator Brian Ritchie has described Mona Foma as “using art and music as a battering ram” to cross the line that divides the south from the north and “even though we don’t know what those great things might be, we are prepared to be big (and potentially lose big), to see if we can make it happen”.

And “big” it promises to be, with a line-up of local and international talent from Sweden, the United States, New Zealand, Poland, Niger, South Africa and Japan.

In a joint partnership with the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, QVMAG, much of the Mona Foma action will take place at the Inveresk precinct, but recognises that the Gorge is the “heart and soul of the city”.


The festival opens on the 13th January at the Gorge with a massive inflatable sculpture by Launceston artist Amanda Parer titled Man, a monumental mediation on humankind. Throughout the week there will be meditation sessions in the Fairy Dell.

Throughout the week, local galleries, including Sawtooth, Pomeina and the Academy Gallery host exhibitions that follow artists making art on the move and accompanying sound track, see the story of Sisyphus transplanted into the Tasmanian landscape, to examining the art of the human body.

Peek into little boxes of art on a trail through the city, drop into the John Hart conservatory at City Park where endurance performer Ben Landau will be humming, keep an eye out for murals from Kenny Pittock, join Sydney artist Heath Franco in the snooker den at the Launceston Workers’ Club or listen in to the sounds of space junk with Nick Ryan and be amazed by organ master Calvin Bowman’s music revolution at the City Baptist Church

The core action over the festival weekend (18th-20th January) is at Inveresk where Swedish singer songwriter Neneh Cherry; masked musical enigma Jonathan Bree, experiment producer Oneohtrix Point Never, Mulatu Astatke and The Black Jesus Experience, South African singer Nakhane are just a sample of the international acts that will appear alongside a host of local talent, including the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, singer songwriter Courtney Barnett and Tasdance.

From semi-intelligent see-saws, the Sound or Musical Architecture (the SOMA in Mona Foma Soma) – a mobile recording performance space created by the Utas School of Architecture – to a late night rave in a city laneway, Launceston is set to welcome Mofo to its new home. To all locals let us celebrate our city and make Mona Foma a Launceston revolution.