Our seven favourite quirky moments from this year’s Mona Foma

We took a trip to the wonderfully weird music and arts festival

Ashleigh Hastings
Arts & Culture Editor
Performers on a boat with projections on the sales
Photograph: Mona/Jesse Hunniford

Mona Foma, the annual festival of summer hijinks from Hobart’s provocative Museum of Old and New Art, has once again brought a smorgasbord of shenanigans to the tail end of the Tasmanian summer. The festival’s sixteenth edition took place over three luscious weekends across nipaluna/Hobart and Launceston, bringing together more than 500 performers from around the world. We were lucky enough to pop over to Hobart for weekend two and there was so much to see. Here’s a roundup of our favourite moments. 

The Hyperbolic Psychedelic Mind Melting Tunnel of Light

If the name felt a little dramatic before entering this one-person-only laser tunnel, it seemed perfectly accurate after my allotted three minutes were up. Audiovisual artist Robin Fox has created a splendid sensory overload of light and sound, controlled by the viewer via a simple joystick. Three minutes ought to feel like an age alone in a tunnel of light, but it was over in a flash (or more accurately, thousands of them).


Relaxing on the Mona lawns each evening to take in performances from illustrious international acts is a Mona Foma must-do. Scottish post-rock legends Mogwai were a highlight of these Mona Sessions, making it easy to lose track of time on the rolling lawns. A rapt fascination spread across the crowd in response to the band’s thunderous sonic journey, enhanced by a stellar light show.

A woman dances
Photograph: Mona/Jesse Hunniford

Faux Mo

After a good Mona Session, it would be rude not to head straight to the festival’s famous late-night after parties. Known as Faux Mo, these arty, debaucherous nights are often held at unconventional venues, and this year’s location is sure to go down in history. 

Just down the hill from Mona lies the unassuming Granada Tavern, brimming with wholesome regional sports bar energy. Once we stepped inside, however, we entered the fictional locale of New Bayswater, an autonomous community and temporary ‘state of party’ complete with its own currency, immigration bureaucracy and even a post office. When we weren’t on the lively dancefloor (where heavy hitters like Soju Gang and Chaos in the CBD were spinning tracks), we were on a twisted journey trying to get a passport and secure enough ‘New Bayswater Dollars’ to send a postcard to one of our fellow partygoers.  

A post office at a party
Photograph: Mona/Jesse Hunniford

Boats by Emeka Ogboh

Nigerian-born artist Emeka Ogboh has created a collaborative gin designed to form part of his continuous transnational conversation around belonging, and we got the chance to take a swig. A ‘marketing campaign’ for the gin was emblazoned upon the walls of the former site of The Mercury newspaper, which we admired before venturing upstairs to immerse ourselves in the accompanying soundscape. We heard that sourcing the West African botanicals was a highly involved process, but the multi-layered delights of the resulting Boats gin were well worth it.  

An exhibition seen from above
Photograph: Mona/Jesse Hunniford

Arka Kinari

Speaking of boats, we whisked ourselves back to central Hobart to witness a mesmerising musical performance from aboard a seventy-tonne sailing ship. Husband and wife Filastine and Nova have spent years circling the globe on their vessel, hosting sustainability workshops by day and cinematic electronica performances by night. The haunting yet meditative melodies encouraged us to visualise a more climate-friendly life.

Yahong Chang paints live
Photograph: Mona/Jesse Hunniford

Yahon Chang

Seeing a giant artwork painted live with a brush almost as big as the artist wasn’t on our 2024 bingo card, but it was a privilege to watch Taiwanese artist Yahon Chang do just that in the expansive surrounds of Princes Wharf. We sat entranced in complete silence as Chang flowed ink across the floor-canvas with a series of brushes and pieces of foliage, creating a large-scale masterpiece revealed only when the fabric was finally hoisted high into the air.

People sit on the Mona Lawns with a mountain in the background
Photograph: Mona/Jesse Hunniford

Isaac et Nora

Amongst the many artists who graced the Mona lawns, Isaac et Nora were another standout. Fourteen-year-old Isaac and eleven-year-old Nora are French Korean kids who love to play Latin American music. It’s the perfect recipe for a quirky viral sensation, and it was clear that the novelty of playing to a crowd of art lovers on an island off Australia was not lost on these bright-eyed performers.

You don’t have to skip across to Tasmania to check out some great art. Here are our favourite exhibitions in Melbourne this month

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