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Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons 2009 was a touring exhibition developed and presented by the National Museum of Australia. The exhibition was on show at the National Museum of Australia from 8 December 2009 to 31 January 2010 and the State Library of Queensland, Brisbane from 11 December 2010 to 3 April 2011.

Behind the Lines 2009: The Year’s Best Cartoons

One of the key roles of the National Museum of Australia is to facilitate a national conversation about the significant moments in Australian history. The Behind the Lines exhibition, with its selection of some of the best cartoons published in 2009, provides a means of achieving this objective.

The cartoons on show challenge the viewer to reflect on some of the major controversies of the last 12 months. While some of these events will fade into the past, leaving little trace on the national memory, others will be seen as reminders of defining moments in the Australian story. By exhibiting and preserving these cartoons, the Museum provides a window into how these events were understood at the time they occurred.

As well as presenting a record of the year's events, Behind the Lines also celebrates Australia's wonderful tradition of political cartooning. Artists featured this year include Alan Moir, Bill Leak, Cathy Wilcox, David Pope, Andrew Weldon, Fiona Katauskas, John Spooner, Mark Knight and Warren Brown.

Please enjoy the cartoons and take the opportunity to join the conversation about Australian history.

Craddock Morton
National Museum of Australia

The exhibition

Black Saturday Discover how cartoonists responded to the devastating bush fires.
Fighting recession Explore cartoons related to the Global Financial Crisis and potential recession.
News of the day See which political events provided inspiration for artist's pens in 2009.
Living with the dragon View cartoons related to Australia's relationship with China.
Leaders Explore how political leaders provide raw material for cartoonists to work with.
Life in opposition Discover how the challenges of the Liberal Party in 2009 were portrayed.
Carbon trading Discover how cartoonists illustrated the Emissions Trading Scheme debate.

Whatever the debate, cartoonists continue to retain their front row seats and provide a wonderful visual archive of Australian history.

Artists' biographies

Learn more about the artists whose political cartoons featured in the exhibition.

Text only version

View an accessible, text-only page that brings together the ‘alt’ tags descriptions of each cartoon.

Text only version
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