Behind the Lines – The year in political cartoons at the Museum of Australian Democracy Old Parliament House

Privacy Concerns – Mark Knight Herald Sun 20 April 2020

One of the annual exhibitions that ticks lots of boxes for me is the Behind the Lines one. This puts maybe 100 of the best political cartoons of the year up on the walls of the Old Parliament House. The curators group the cartoons in broad categories in large formats with brief context commentary for visitors to absorb. It is a laugh, it is tough and the creative beauty of the cartoonist’s art is riveting. Seeing a year in review reminds the viewer of the issues that are short term and those which continue. It is well worth a look and is on till November. There is a $2 entry charge for Old Parliament House and the following link is to a website with a video for the Cartoonist of the Year Cathy Wilcox

After – Charlotte Allingham and Dylan Mooney – Tuggeranong Arts Centre Foyer Gallery

Charlotte Allingham image

Seven visually stunning poster artworks form the current exhibition in the Foyer Gallery at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. Each of the images uses a combination of vibrant colour and striking people and faces to form a protest or message image. The images are part of a larger project through the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQI Network. Details on the project and the artists are on the website

The exhibtion runs from 19 June – 24 July 2021, in the Foyer Gallery

I weave what I have seen – War Rugs of Afghanistan – ANU Drill Hall Gallery

At the ANU Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra there is an exhibition of carpets created in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries over the last 40 years. The distinctive feature of these rugs is the inclusion of rockets, tanks, bombs, Hummers and lots of other armaments of war. I do not cry often in galleries but I came close in this exhibition. The tragedy and trauma of 40 years of invasion and occupation by large nations is visually woven into the traditional art form of rug making. The violence and brutality of war machinery pictured through the finely worked carpets I found confronting.

The exhibition is on till August 15 2021 and the details are on the website

Gough Whitlam In his own Century @ National Archives of Australia

Many people my age have an almost idolatrous view of Gough Whitlam. I admit to being in that group. The National Archives of Australia is currently hosting and exhibition on the life of the great man that covers in lots of text and pictures a clear survey of his life from birth till death. Don’t pop in if you want to do it quickly. The Whitlam Centre has put together lots of good text panels and some wonderful pictures. This exhibition seemed wonderfully appropriate to be housed at the Archives.

Some sample pics below


Weapon Art @ Museum of Australian Democracy Canberra

Propaganda and advertising embedded in everything we consume. Definitions are fluid and are often driven by perspective. The Melbourne Popular Art Group chose to frame an exhibition to mark the anniversary of the Eureka Stockade. The content and styles of the works on exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra have a communist austerity but each of the images are remarkably clear in conveying a message.

THis exhibition has been on for a long time but a return visit recently reminded me about how gorgeous these images are.

Pics below.

Seeking Refuge @ Tuggerenong Arts Centre

6-29 October 2016

Sean Davey, Lucile Carson, Euan Graham, Mona Khizam, Penny Ryan, Barak Zelig,  Nicci Haynes and Caren Florance were all involved in a great exhibition at the Tuggerenong Arts Centre that I enjoyed but forgot to write up. Ian warden’s article on it does a much better job of covering it than I ever would so I have just included the link to it and some pics below.

Bald Archy Exhibition @ Watson Arts Centre

An annual prize for caricature portraiture as a parody of the Archibald prize has been going for decades. Each year it comes to Canberra and I love it. The artists look at the national dialogue for the year and produce paintings that parody the people and the issues that have occupied the press and the citizens.

This year there are participants such as Hanson, Turnbull, a collection of sports people, entertainers and other prominent types. They run a people’s choice award and that focuses the mind on how well the artists represent the issues and the personalities.

My favourite was a Violet Trumble in the wonderful purple. background. The most constant and reproduced person was Hanson and many of the images are not complimentary  They have a no photography of the images so I have attached a couple of gallery shots and the sheet put out for intended purchasers.

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Behind the Lines 2016 @ Museum of Australian Democracy

The art of cartooning is one of the great contributions to political understanding and analysis. Funny and profound are often mixed together in one space. Each year the Museum of Australian Democracy hosts a large collection of Australian political cartoons of the previous year on their walls for visitors to see clustered in topical sets.

I love these as an exhibit. It is exciting to see the differences and the similarities. They have samples of lots of cartoonists and many examples of some of the best such as Rowe. They sell the set in a paperback book but to me there is something different about standing and reading them on a wall. I enjoy it and will go back again.

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Silent Tears @ Murray Art Museum, Albury

Silent Tears is a set of confronting photographs some in black and white in frames on the wall and others on translucent Perspex sheets suspended from the ceiling that enable you to walk among them seeing the photos from both sides.

The work of the photographer Belinda Mason records the experiences of disabled women who are subjected to violence or have become disabled as a result of violence inflicted on them. There is a back story to every photograph that is available in printed materials for sale at the gallery but even without the back story the photos tell a sad story in their silent testimony to misery.

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What is the Meme-ing of this? @ Casula Powerhouse

The website explains this exhibition in part in the following way

CPAC Youth proudly present an array of works created by young people expressing how youth consume and interact with media, questioning what media is for young people, as well as how they are represented within it.

‘What’s the Meme-ing of this?!’ draws from a counter-culture created by millennials, and a territory often foreign to professionals to show how Memes can use humour, play and divergent thinking as vehicles to push agendas that resonate with young audiences.

The images are often fun and often confronting. A great take on Memes



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