One of the many cartoons on exhibition: Mark Knight - The Spill, Herald Sun, 9 February 2015
One of the many cartoons on exhibition: Mark Knight - The Spill, Herald Sun, 9 February 2015

Making fun of our pollies

AUSTRALIAN politics produced some interesting moments last year and many of these are now showcased at the the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Behind The Lines: The Years Best Political Cartoons examines press freedom and its value in the unpredictable and sometimes frightening political forum.

The Museum of Australian Democracy has organised the exhibition for a fifth consecutive year, reflecting on the previous year of politics and society in the cartoonists' column.

Arts, Communities, and Cultural Services Committee Chairperson Councillor Charlie Pisasale says cartoonists are a great example of the power of free speech.

"This exhibition celebrates the spirit of Australian democracy and reminds us how lucky we are to live in a country with freedom of speech, and where cartoonists can push boundaries on a daily basis," Cr Pisasale said.

Events like 'Choppergate', Reintroduction of knighthoods, and gay marriage have all been fair game for the minds of cartoonists, where few subjects are taboo, and no ego is spared from criticism.

Despite all the humour of the cartoons, this freedom is not granted everywhere, as seen with the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, and the trial of al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who has contributed to this year's exhibition.

"The best political cartoons will always push the boundaries. They challenge policies, ideas and individuals, stripping away the shiny wrapping and flowery bows that politicians often wrap them in. And yes, at times they even ridicule and insult - as Charlie Hebdo routinely did - deliberately overstepping generally accepted social boundaries," Mr Greste writes in his foreword to the exhibition.

Interestingly, following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, political cartoonists and artists have become more valuable to society than they were before.

Behind The Lines 2015 will be on display at the Ipswich Art Gallery until March 6, entry is free.



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