Goldberg Aberline Studio returned to the Enlighten Festival presented by Singapore Airlines, in 2020 after a year of globe trotting to bring the premiere of an ambitious art project for children called “Monsters Love You… but might eat you”.
Aberline’s work is no stranger to young people in Canberra – he is part of the creative team that has brought such family favourites as The Gruffalo, the Treehouse Series, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and Room on the Broom to local audiences.
“I orginally studied fashion at the Canberra Institute of fashion – even though I knew I never wanted to work in fashion. I went there to learn craftsmanship and to develop a powerful problem solving process. There is barely a day in our busy workshop when I don’t reflect on the amazing people there who helped teach me.”
While on one of their many projects in Canberra, Goldberg and Aberline had a fortuitous meeting with the “Centre for Wellness and Play” at the Canberra University. Led by Dr Cathy Hope, the centre advises government policy around how to connect to communities.
“Meeting Dr Hope was a major moment for us, she made us see how our work impacts viewers in ways that we never expected. Our work was always playful, but suddenly we realised we were seriously fun.”
Our work tells important stories, but we use fun and play as a way to create immediate connection with viewers. Our “Live for Love” piece at the World Trade Centre in New York was invited for World Pride. It was three storey work discussing the evolution of human rights in Australia, from the treatment of homosexuals in WW2, to the HIV crisis, to today’s issues around gender diversity and trans rights. But because it was fun, it was accessible to everyone. Some people connected to the humour, while others connected to the sadder issues. Its not uncommon for us to be contacted by people who said they were moved to tears of joy and pain.”
While in New York, the duo was contacted to produce a work for the United Nations General Assembly, with a very unique set of problems. The work needed to explore a major global health issue – antimicrobial resistance to drugs, and done in such a way that it would inspire conversations with the UN Delegates. “We were literally faced with the creative problem: how do you make drug resistant gonorrhoea and untreatable tuberculosis approachable and fun?”…
This is the second time the Goldberg Aberline Studio have shown at the Enlighten Festival, last year they premiered their First Nations collaboration with Aboriginal artists Sharon and Kaye Warrie, “Red Air”, which has since gone on to tour Australia.
They describe the Monsters project as one of the most ambitious works they’ve ever created.
“We realised children and families love our work, but we’d never created a project specifically for children”.
Monsters Love You is a combination of architecture, art and play, that is as much for the child inside each adult as it is for their children. The work includes a series of simple games that families are invited to play, under the watchful eyes of a series of giant colourful monsters.
“We wanted to get back to the heart of simple family dynamics away from technology. Often grown ups are afraid to play in public spaces because they’re worried of looking childish. Hopefully this work allows everyone to express their inner child.”
Monster Love You was designed, painted, printed and sewn in Australia by Matthew Aberline and Maurice Goldberg.
Visit their Website: https://www.goldbergaberlinestudio.com/