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13 December 2006

The twists and turns of the political year, as seen by Australia's top cartoonists, are portrayed in the National Museum of Australia's popular Behind the Lines exhibition, opening in Canberra tomorrow.

The exhibition opening coincides with the announcement of the inaugural winner of the National Museum of Australia Political Cartooning Award for an artist who has made a lasting contribution to the field.

'Cartoons follow the twists and turns of public debate while providing a powerful visual archive of how issues were understood and resolved in our political system,'
Behind the Lines curator Guy Hansen said.

'Each image provides a snapshot of the news of the day, leaving a small time capsule of events and personalities. These images are not the rarefied musings of an artist but the sledge hammer of political commentary.'

Media are invited to preview Behind the Lines as National Museum director Craddock Morton announces the winner of the inaugural National Museum of Australia Political
Cartooning Award in the Lower Nation Gallery, 11.30am Thursday, December 14.

Behind the Lines features more than 80 cartoons which cover major issues including the war on terror, the cash for crops controversy and the industrial relations debate. Events which briefly dominated the headlines – such as the Cronulla riots – are also covered.

The exhibition includes works from cartoonists and illustrators including Dean Alston, Warren Brown, Rocco Fazzari, Mark Knight, Bill Leak, Alan Moir, Peter Nicholson, Bruce Petty, David Pope, Geoff Pryor, David Rowe, John Spooner and Cathy Wilcox.

Exhibition visitors will be invited to choose their favourite cartoon for the People's Choice Award, a $1000 prize for the cartoonist with the most popular work at each venue.

Behind the Lines is on show at the Lower Nation Gallery of the National Museum of Australia in Canberra from 14 December 2006 to 4 February 2007. Entry is free.

The exhibition then travels to Sydney, Wagga and Perth.

For interviews, images or more information please contact please contact Leanda Kitchen on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or

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