”MONGO” is slang for garbage salvaged from streets and trash heaps. Any rubbish can qualify, whether it’s edible, wearable, useful or indescribable. By definition, somebody must have thought it was worthless. 

Francois Knoetze’s work combines direct commentary to issues of sustainability, use and reuse as approachable and poetic art making. His practice retraces the life cycles of discarded objects and explores junctures between material and social histories. In his Mongo suits, the synthetic is welded to the human – bringing focus to the objectification of persons, through the personification of objects.

These collaborative workshops aimed to stimulate and support the skills development of local SA artists whose visual and performance based practices explore ecological/environmental issues and incorporate the use of recycled and found materials in their processes and outcomes.

Lead workshop artist: Francois Knoetze / Participating artists: Bob Daly, Chelsea Farquhar, Lee Gurling, Michelle Jahn, Heidi Kenyon, Mieke Kriegesvelt, Jane Macilwain, Nikki Manning, Kaspar Schmidt Munn, Emma O’Neil, Rosina Possingham, Cinzia Schincariol, Cynthia Schwertsik, Matt Shilcock, Jane Skeer, Henry Jock Walker, Laura Wills, Trevor Wren, Greta Wyatt and Emmaline Zanelli.

Roaming street parades and performances took place as part of the Port Fringe Festival and in and around SMOCK, 122 Hindley st, Adelaide. Francois also presented a number of his locally created Mongo suits at WOMADelaide. An exhibition of all the suits/costumes were on display at SMOCK till the 22 April, 2018.

The Art of Mongo workshops – Francois Knoetze from OpenSpaceContemporaryArts on Vimeo.

Listen to the interview with Francois on Radio National here

Read the Broadsheet interview here

Background – In 2016, the newly appointed OSCA Artistic Directorate renewed an interest in the development of contemporary forms of roaming performance work and community engaged workshops –  with a specific focus on sustainable practices in the urban domain. The opportunity to connect with KESAB and the best practice innovative recycling industry hub based in Port Adelaide, coupled with the confirmed support of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and City of Adelaide will access and generate benefits and connections for the participating SA artists well into the future.

This project has been supported by Arts South Australia, the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and the City of Adelaide.