MoAD’s Behind the Lines 2023

Artificial intelligence, the Voice referendum, the cost-of-living crisis, King Charles III’s coronation and the Matildas.

These are just some of the events featured in political cartoon exhibition Behind The Lines for 2023, at Canberra’s Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD).

This exhibition asks us to laugh, but it also asks us to reflect, discuss, listen and learn.”

Canberra’s Museum of Australian Democracy has set up its annual (this is the 13th year) Behind the Lines exhibit which showcases the 2023 year in political cartoons, and features established and emerging cartoonists.

© Glen Le Lievre

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports:

The theme of this year’s exhibition is ‘All Fun and Games’.

However Barrie Cassidy, chair of the board of Old Parliament House, which houses MoAD, said the cartoons also explore heavier topics. 

The ABC article highlights a couple of the exhibit’s sections…

‘Out of the Frame’ showcases a selection of GIFs, mixed media sculpture and puppetry works from cartoonists in 2023, and highlights “forms of media used by political cartoonists beyond the more traditional pen, ink and paper or even static digital drawings”.

© Fiona Katauskas/The Guardian Australia

… and Fiona Katauskas of The Guardian, MoAD’s 2023 Political Cartoonist of the Year.

This year’s Behind the Lines features 125 works by 46 cartoonists.

But the gong for MoAD’s Political Cartoonist of the Year was given to The Guardian’s Fiona Katauskas, who has been in the industry since the 1990s.

Riotact also has a feature on the exhibit:

As your mother told you when things got particularly exciting, it’s all fun and games… until someone loses an eye.

The annual Behind the Lines exhibition of political cartoons opens this week at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) with the theme Fun and Games, and a political piñata strung up on a Hills Hoist at the door.

It’s been a tough year and the 125 cartoons from 46 cartoonists deal with everything from the referendum to the distinctly unfunny Middle East conflict.

MoAD board chair Barrie Cassidy says it’s been challenging, adding “if you don’t respect the cartoonists they have a way of paying you back, so stay on board!”

He says the exhibition focusses on emerging talent and diversity and it’s very much a two-way street, bringing thousands of people through the doors each year.

MoAD let’s us explore the exhibit with an online sampling.

They also have a page with a short one or two sentence profile and gallery of nearly 100 Australian cartoonists, more than a few of which have been featured in Mike Peterson’s columns and news reports here at TDC.