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Mangohig gets the Myer

Darwin musician, producer, collaborator and artist James Mangohig got the call of his life last month when he found out he was one of eight successful applicants for the Sydney Myer Creative Fellowship.

By Tamara Howie

The local legend will receive an unrestricted tax-free grant of $160,000 over two years to continue his work as an artist.

The success is also national industry recognition for his tireless creative commitment to his extensive body of work.

Mangohig says for the time being the Fellowship is some financial breathing space, but he won’t be dropping his current projects to fly across the world to collaborate with his idols – at least not just yet. 

“In many ways I don’t think my plans have changed, regardless of the money I’m going to be doing the same projects,” he says.

“I received a grant earlier this year from Arts NT to make a solo record, but this money is a bit of brain space and financial space to create that record.”

His new project, From The D.O.T.S is a celebration of his love of playing bass, his obsession with G-funk, hip hop and disco, and his personal life as a Filipino Territorian.

“I really want it to reflect my life as an Asian Australian growing up in the NT and working in the industry here, and to be the kind of thing the Chief Minister could put on and say ‘I’m so glad this was made in Darwin’,” he says.

Not only is Mangohig working on his own record, but he’s also involved in numerous other projects including Stevie Jean’s debut EP, Mambali band’s record and upcoming tour to Meredith Music Festival, and as a “hired studio slave” for his long-time collaborator Caiti Baker, among many others.

Mangohig was nominated for the Fellowship by local arts advocate Angela O’Donnell.

“He is a very well-loved individual and artist and for all those reasons he’s been nominated and successful – his capacity to support and his encouragement of others, his steadfast commitment and contribution to the Northern Territory scene,” she says.

“It’s a bit of a game changer to have this strong endorsement by the national industry.”

Mangohig and Baker helped O’Donnell put together the application – a process that gave Mangohig a rare opportunity to reflect on his career and achievements. 

“It’s a really humbling process,” he says.

“I know I’ve worked really hard, but because I’m constantly working I don’t get a moment to reflect on it. 

“Doing the application with Angela made me realise how much stuff I’d done that had meant something.”

For now, Mangohig is controlling his spontaneous urges to fly to New York, but watch this space.


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