COVID 19 takes centre stage along with an old friend, the Grim Reaper, in the latest “Behind the Lines: The year in political cartoons,” opened at the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House this morning (November 20).
The 2020 exhibition includes 104 cartoons from 36 cartoonists as published by a broad range of media outlets, including one from the US.
MoAD director Daryl Karp unveiled the theme for 2020, “A dog’s breakfast”, noting that disruptive and tumultuous events had made such an enormous impact on ordinary Australians that exhibition curator Holly Williams was inviting visitors to make sense of “a dog of a year” through political cartoons.
She also noted that Amy McQuire, the outspoken Darumbal and South Sea Islander journalist, had curated a selection of cartoons on the annual “Closing the Gap” reports, a new section for the popular exhibition.
On hand for a Q&A with Williams, was science communicator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki who analysed the toilet-paper hoarding phenomenon of the year while also reflecting on past natural upheavals, such as the eruption of Mount Toba in Sumatra during 1816, which cooled the whole world down by few degrees and may even have led to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” A good example of how we can learn from history, Williams thought.
Cathy Wilcox, cartoonist for the “Sydney Morning Herald” and “The Age”, received the 2020 Political Cartoonist of the Year award at today’s exhibition launch, for the sharp eye she casts over both sides of politics and the ways she captured the momentous events of the year, as seen through the eyes of ordinary people.
“Cathy has pricked people’s hearts with her take on events big and small, finding a poignant angle to the summer’s bushfire and wildlife disaster and the COVID-centric humour,” Karp said.
“Behind the Lines: the year in political cartoons 2020” opens to the public tomorrow (November 21) for 12 months.