A cityscape of Hobart, during Dark Mofo

What Does MONA Mean?

Oct 16

In every interview, we asked what you are most proud of. We asked what you would miss the most if you were forced to leave this place. Your answers varied.

Some of us love that in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race we cheer for everyone, first place and last. We love that from the top of our mountain, up to our ankles in snow, we can spot a great beach and play in the Derwent fifteen minutes later. We’re proud of our wine and beer, our whisky and gin, our cheese, our coffee, our wasabi. We’re proud that while some people hate the Salamanca Christmas Tree, others knit jumpers for it.

Every last one of you is proud of MONA.

You love that David Walsh did not grow up wealthy. You love that he’s a bit of a rascal. You love the museum, even if you hate some of its exhibits, and how people from around the world want to experience the place. You love that it’s in Glenorchy. You love the festivals.

Even better than the museum itself, you love what MONA means: that at our best, anyone can do anything here. And the Hobartian thing is to encourage and celebrate her — or him. In other cities, philanthropists put on cocktail dresses and tuxedos and put their names on the sides of old fashioned institutions. In Hobart, a philanthropist can invent a new one. In a place that can feel “over-governed,” you love that MONA is ungovernable.

Some island cultures are mono-cultural and conformist, even stiflingly so. Not this one. There can only be one MONA but this is what MONA means: in Hobart, in your own way, you can do it too.

Has MONA put Hobart on the map? Is Hobart more than just MONA?