Clary Akon in conversation with Francis Merson

Please join us on Saturday 28 March at 2pm to hear artist duo Francis Merson and Clary Akon – otherwise known as Wowser Nation, discuss Akon's latest exhibition at Australian Galleries and the growing climate of the Australian nanny state.

The duo take the name of their collective from the Australian slang expression ‘wowser’, which author CJ Dennis famously defined as “an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder.” Wowser Nation makes a bold statement on the battleground of our public spaces, where governments, councils and advertisers vie for our attention. Through the creation of witty, frighteningly realistic signage, Merson and Akon challenge us to re-examine the messages we are subjected to on a daily basis, to look with a critical eye at the rules and regulations which dictate our movements and behaviours.

“We take existing safety and warning signs and turn the volume up just a notch, to leave people wondering – is this for real? Hopefully, this will encourage people to think critically about the draconian rules we’re all being asked to accept. From the Sydney lock-out laws to exorbitant parking fines to not being able to have a glass of wine at the park… we’re being swamped with regulations that are supposed to improve our lives, but actually have the opposite effect of destroying fun and spontaneity. From being a country renowned for its laid-back, no-worries attitude to life, we’re becoming increasingly rule-bound, censorious and anxious. We’re becoming a Wowser Nation.” - Clary Akon & Franci Merson, 2017

15 Roylston Street, Paddington NSW, Australia
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