The nation’s political cartoonists had plenty to work with in 2020 and the Museum of Australian Democracy’s (MoAD) Behind the Lines exhibition charts the year’s events: bushfires, COVID-19 and the political and human response, and economic and political issues.
With most of us still wondering ‘what the pup just happened’, the exhibition with the theme of ‘2020: A Dog’s Breakfast!’ will help us all make sense of a year that left most of us reeling.
Commenting on the exhibition, MoAD’s director, Daryl Karp, says, “The cartoonists in this year’s exhibition come from across the political spectrum, yet each bring their own robust interrogation of the goings on in Canberra and the rest of the country.
“They also shed light on our own shock, fears and human foibles as we grappled with a very tough year. A humble roll of toilet paper, for example, won’t look quite the same after Behind the Lines 2020.”
The exhibition includes 104 cartoons from 36 cartoonists, with digital cartoons included for the first time.
Holly Williams, curator of Behind the Lines 2020, says the exhibition’s theme evokes the mess and chaos of the year while injecting some lightness.
“So many of 2020’s cartoons splice together multiple crises and events, such as Andrew Weston’s Extreme Social Distancing,” she says. “In a year like no other, cartoonists borrow a catchphrase here or a visual cue there and weave them, often quite beautifully, into a piece of striking satire. It can still be quite jarring to see a Hawaiian shirt pattern from one crisis transform into a COVID-19 blob pattern.”
There’s something for the whole family to enjoy at this year’s Behind the Lines exhibition. A brand new Whoosh Machine invites you to put a ball in a dog bowl and watch it ‘whoosh’ through the tubes to arrive at a doggy destination. Or dig up clues while following the Family Trail through the exhibition, or join Political Cartoonist of the Year, Cathy Wilcox, as she guides you via video through a drawing activity.
When have we needed our political cartoonists so much?
Behind the Lines exhibition ‘2020: A Dog’s Breakfast’ is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.