Retro pop culture art brings back the bytes

Mandurah is pretty well-established as a font of art and culture, as well all know.

But a new exhibition at the Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery – in place alongside the RahCon Pop Culture Convention, held this Saturday – has replaced the usual scenes of beautiful coastal sunsets and wetlands with video game heroes, giant fire-breathing dragons and wanted galactic bounty hunters.

The Retro Pop Culture Art Exhibition has seen talented artists form Mandurah and afar display a range of contemporary art based off such big cultural movements as Star Wars, Overwatch and Gremlins.

The artworks also showcase modern ways of creating art, with digital design and printing being common processes.

Mandurah councillor Peter Rogers, who opened the exhibition on Wednesday night, said it was great to see Mandurah’s art scene extending to new and innovative forms of art.

“The city of Mandurah has been actively and successfully engaged in arts and culture for more than ten years,” Mr Rogers said. 

“We're very proud of this, and the City is passionate about helping our local artists prosper, and be the best they can be.

"This exhibition not only features some amazing artists from Mandurah, but also from around Western Australia. It not only exposes those local artists, but brings more talent and culture to our region. 

“Art, creativity and culture all have such a positive impact on our community, so it's great to see so much passion behind this innovative and exciting style of art."

RahCon organiser Lee Kennedy said the exhibition was another step in establishing RahCon, and by effect Mandurah, as a focal point for celebrating pop culture.

“When we first created RahCon in 2014, we weren’t really sure if it was going to work,” he said. 

“We were expecting maybe 250 people to come along, and we ended up with 750 on that first event. Some people came from as far as Kalgoorlie and Albany to take part.”

He said they had experimented with displaying art, but the gallery has opened up much more opportunity this year.

"Last year was when the idea of having a pop culture art exhibition first came up. We went to a printer, printed off a bunch of A3s and stuck them up on the glass out the front,” he said.

“That worked to get people a bit interested, because they stopped to see what was going on. But this is the first time we've been able to have a proper, official exhibition, and I couldn't be happier with the result."

Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery curator Gary Aitken said it was exciting to provide something inherently different to the art Mandurah is usually known for.

“When Lee first approached me with the idea for the exhibition, I was a bit apprehensive about whether it would meet his expectations,” he said. 

“But I've been blown away with the quality and the passion these artists have shown in their work.”

The Retro Pop Culture Exhibition will be open until Saturday November 5.

RahCon hits the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre this Saturday October 15, with special guests Hingers (e-sports commentator and Good Game and The Feed host), Mark Raats (Lucasfilm/Disney illustrator, famous for the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Jedi Returns film posters) and musical acts The Gizzards and LoveMuse.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Mr Kennedy said.