Australian politics is certainly becoming curiouser and curiouser in MoAD’s 2018 Behind The Lines exhibition, which was launched on 16 November in Canberra by special guest, comedian, author and songbird Sammy J. Every year MoAD presents Behind The Lines, an exhibition that displays the best political cartoons from the last 12 months. The 2018 exhibition brings together the year’s unexpected political twists and turns in an Alice In Wonderland-inspired theme.
— Libby Stewart (@libs64) November 15, 2018
Each year RiotACT proudly reports on this quintessential Canberra politically-themed exhibition. “Each week Australia’s political cartoonists have captured the goings-on in parliament with humour and wit,” MoAD Director, Daryl Karp explained. “Australia has a long and proud tradition of political satire, and each year it is a celebration of our democracy and our freedom of speech.”
“At a time when we’ve had seven prime ministers in 10 years, and satisfaction in democracy has dropped by more than half since 2007, it’s reassuring that our political cartoonists haven’t lost the ability to make us laugh,” Ms Karp continued.
Behind The Lines curator, Libby Stewart, said the exhibition contains more than 80 cartoons, representing the work of over 30 cartoonists from a wide variety of printed and online media. “Visitors will see insightful commentary including work from David Pope, John Shakespeare, David Rowe, Alan Moir, Mark Knight, Cathy Wilcox and Michael Leunig, and for the first time Jason Chatfield, an Australian cartoonist now illustrating for The New Yorker.
“We are inviting visitors to step through the looking glass with us to laugh, smirk or grimace at the strange happenings in politics in the last year.”
Ms Karp also announced the exhibition’s Political Cartoonist of the Year saying, “The Curiouser and Curiouser theme is perfectly encapsulated in the work of our Cartoonist of the Year, Matt Golding. Visitors will see his bemused Alice peering into a Wonderland populated by some very familiar political faces.
“Matt has been delighting fans for years with his work for Fairfax publications, where he excels at the ‘pocket’ cartoon style. He skilfully sums up complex issues within one frame, enabling readers to understand these issues more easily, and to appreciate the humour that he brings to them. This year Matt has focused on the banking royal commission, by-elections, tax cuts and the shadow of Tony Abbott looming over the government.”
Matt Golding said he was delighted his work is included in one of Australia’s most popular political cartooning exhibitions and to be chosen as Cartoonist of the Year. “People are drawn to cartoons, they gravitate towards them because of their beautiful simplicity and their power to challenge, to make people think and possibly see the world in a different way,” he said.
Families are invited to venture down the rabbit hole into MoAD’s Wonderland and kids of all ages can visit the topsy-turvy world of Wonderland for the next 12 months at MoAD for dress ups, games and adventures. “Lewis Carroll’s children’s story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a timeless classic and offers so many opportunities for younger visitors to connect with Australia’s long tradition of political satire,” explained Nanette Louchart-Fletcher from MoAD’s Museum Engagement team.
From Section 44 claiming more heads than the Queen of Hearts to marriage equality, climate change and the federal leadership spill that gave us another new prime minister, there is a lot to wonder at. While parents and grownups grin, groan or grimace at the unexpected political twists and turns in the exhibition’s cartoons, a dedicated children’s space will delight and entertain younger visitors. Here they can dress up as the colourful and curious characters of Wonderland and become Alice, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat or the Mad Hatter. Adults can get in on the fun too, with costumes in larger sizes.
Board and card games also await, with special Wonderland twists to make them even more fun and surprising. Older kids can go on a cartooning trail through the exhibition, following clues and learning about the art of political cartooning.
The Museum of Australian Democracy celebrates Australia’s history as a democratic nation and actively promotes the participation of its citizens in determining its future. MoAD is a museum not just of objects but of ideas. In this iconic heritage building, we can learn the story of Australia’s journey to becoming one of the world’s most vibrant democratic nations. It is a place where stories, conversations and narratives from myriad perspectives can be heard and discussed.
When: Now open! Open daily 9 am-5 pm, Closed Christmas Day. Until November 2019.
More info: You can check out some of the cartoons online here.
'People gravitate towards cartoons because of their power to make people see the world in a different way'
– Matt Golding @GoldingCartoons, our Behind the Lines Cartoonist of the Year
— MuseumofAusDemocracy (@MoAD_Canberra) November 16, 2018
Elias Hallaj (aka CBRfoodie) is a part-time food blogger and full-time political staffer and intermittent RiotACT contributor. All his opinions about cartoons, halal snack packs and potato scallops are his own. Don’t worry he is trying to cut back on fried and fatty food, but insists it’s just too damned delicious. If you have any tips or feedback on food in Canberra or suggestions about stories on the amazing things our city has to offer you can find him on Twitter @CBRfoodie.