Mardi Gras costumes by legendary local designer Ron Muncaster will sit alongside artworks inspired by his designs at a new exhibition in Darlinghurst this month.
Blinged out Fabulous, or How to Get Noticed in a Crowd, will bring together Mr Muncaster’s extravagant costumes with artworks by his partner of 15 years, Craig Craig, upstairs at TAP Gallery in the heart of the city’s East Sydney cultural precinct.
The exhibition features over 100 works and coincides with the Sydney Mardi Gras festival, now in its 35th year. Mardi Gras, one of Sydney’s biggest global events, is supported by the City of Sydney.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Sydney Mardi Gras was an important celebration of the GLBT community as well as a welcome boost to the local economy as it attracted both local and overseas visitors.
“Mardi Gras means a lot to our community. There was a time when making a statement about your sexuality was a bold and possibly dangerous thing to do,” the Lord Mayor said.
“This year we’re celebrating the 35th Mardi Gras and as a city, I’m proud of how far we’ve come. Mardi Gras is one of our most valued cultural events, which is why the City makes such a strong investment in it.
“This year we are providing cash sponsorship of $400,000, as well as up to $253,700 in-kind sponsorship.”
The Mardi Gras festival not only features the world-famous parade, but includes film screenings, a pop-up museum, roller derby, parties and art exhibitions, such as Blinged out Fabulous.
Speaking about the inspiration for the exhibition, Mr Craig said he had used a variety of off-cuts from Mr Muncaster’s costumes, including leather, feathers and sequins to create large-scale collages based on his friend’s works.
“There’s some really blingy stuff,” Mr Craig said.
“I’ve used fabric and lots of decorative elements to create large and colourful works, which represent the style and spirit of Ron’s Mardi Gras costumes.
“It’s wonderful, after such a long and strong friendship with Ron, to have this joint exhibition where we can show our work alongside one another.”
Mr Muncaster, 77, was critical to the Mardi Gras parade’s early success and longevity by introducing in the early 1980s the over-the-top costumes, which have been a focal point of the parade since.
His costumes are held in collections at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
One of his most famous costumes, ‘Lucille Balls’, features a gravity-defying skirt made from fibreglass rods and Styrofoam balls, teamed with a fishnet singlet, collar, armbands, platform shoes and an enormous headdress.
Blinged out Fabulous, Or How to Get Noticed in a Crowd
278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
18 February-3 March, 2013
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