Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Cartoon titled 'Hope'

Object information

Physical description

A colour cartoon on paper featuring a small crowd of people on the left standing in front of a poster of President Barak Obama. A solitary figure on the right is depicted walking past a poster of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The artist's signature is written in the bottom right corner. There is handwritten text written in pencil on the back of the cartoon.

Statement of significance

The 'Behind the Lines 2009' collection consists of 29 political cartoons collected for the 2009 Behind the Lines exhibition and 63 reproduction works printed from digital media supplied by the artists. These works were originally published in major city newspapers as well as regional and online publications. Forty-six different contemporary artists are represented in the collection including Alan Moir, Peter Nicholson, Cathy Wilcox, Jon Kudelka, David Rowe, Bruce Petty, Dean Alston and Ward O'Neill.

This collection has cultural significance to Australia by further documenting political cartooning as an important part of Australia's political culture and preserving a record of several landmark events in Australian political history. Some of Australia's most prominent contemporary cartoonists covered a range of issues including the advancement of the Rudd government, the health and education reform, the global economic recession, the Black Saturday bushfires and the controversy over 'ute-gate'. Australia's economic relationship with China and speculation over an Emissions Trading Scheme was also subject to scrutiny. The increasingly public leadership tension between coalition members which saw Tony Abbott emerge as the new leader of the Liberal Party also provided fodder for artists' pens.

Educational significance

This is a cartoon by Fiona Katauskas which contrasts two posters of US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd which are next to each other on a brick wall. A small group of people are gathered in front of the Obama poster, expressing their admiration. There is no-one in front of the Rudd poster other than a woman who walks past, ignoring it.

In March 2009 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made his first visit to the United States to meet President Barack Obama. Topics for discussion included the global economic crisis, the Iraq war and climate change. Cartoonists took the opportunity to contrast the image and styles of these two key political figures.

Political cartoons have a long history in Australia, and remain one of the most popular forms of political commentary. Though caricatures and satirical illustrations appeared in some of Australia's earliest newspapers, it was not until the 1830s that they became a frequent and respectable feature of the print media. Publications such as the Melbourne Punch, the Sydney Punch, the Bulletin featured both caricatures and cartoons, and it was through these publications that political cartoons became a popular element of the Australian press.

Fiona Katauskas is a freelance cartoonist based in Sydney. Her work appears regularly in New Matilda, and she has been published in the Bulletin, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Australian Financial Review, Chaser News and a range of other publications.

Object information

Back to top