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Behind the Lines

The year’s best political cartoons

Behind the Lines 2016: The year’s best political cartoons, on show at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MOAD) at Old Parliament House, celebrates the role of political cartoonists in Australia and highlights the power that their drawings have in contributing to our daily political and social discourse. A travelling version of this exhibition will be coming to Riverside and run from 15th May – 6th June.

And what material was on offer in 2016! From a double-dissolution election, senate voting reforms, a same sex marriage plebiscite and the census here at home, to the Brexit referendum and the US election, Australia’s cartoonists have created thousands of cartoons pillorying, satirising, commentating and providing their own unique insights.

“Political cartoonists take their art seriously. They get to the heart of issues that are impacting the community, make us laugh, think and question what we hear from our political leaders – all in the space of a single cartoon,” says exhibition curator Tania Cleary.

Author and political cartoonist Cathy Wilcox claimed the coveted Political Cartoonist of the Year award as a part of Behind the Lines 2016, making her the first female cartoonist to win the award. An editorial cartoonist for the Sydney Morning Herald, Cathy has been inspiring readers with her daily insights into political life since 1989.

“As each day throws up another feast of political folly to be chewed over and un-spun, it can seem as if the cartoons fleet by like so much daily news ephemera, to be forgotten the next day. For this reason, it’s especially gratifying to have my work recognised by the Museum of Australian Democracy for its value over a period of time, and given a life beyond the daily cycle,” said Ms Cathy Wilcox.

Ms Daryl Karp, Director of the Museum of Australian Democracy, says that the work of political cartoonists is an inspiring reminder and celebration of Australian democracy. “Political cartoonists get to push the boundaries and turn our leaders into caricatures that bring to life the questions that most of us should be asking of those that represent us. There are many countries where similar actions would see you censored, jailed or worse.”

“This year’s Behind the Lines takes visitors on a political journey of 2016 through this impressive and engaging medium. The exhibition is not just a chronicle and commentary of the political events of 2016, it is also a tribute to the artists who have asked some tough questions and helped us get through it all with good humour,” says Ms Cleary.

Enjoy this free exhibition in Riverside’s foyer 15 May – 6 June. Click here for more information.

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