Introduction - Behind the Lines 2021

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Behind the Lines 2021 is rummaging in the fortune-teller’s chest for a crystal ball. Just as predictive models have become ever-present in the news cycle, the exhibition’s theme, Prophecy & Chance, acknowledges our discomfort with uncertainty and our quest to know what the future holds.

Peering into the swirling mists of the ‘Canberra Bubble’, our talented political cartoonists have illuminated the complex issues of 2021’s ‘new normal’ – a year peppered with big reports, unexpected outcomes and floundering forecasts. From COVID-19 case numbers to house prices and employment levels, 2021 was a year to expect the unexpected.

Alongside the all-too-familiar stories of leadership jockeying and funding scandals, a handful of issues dominated the headlines: the pandemic and vaccine rollout, the treatment of women in our democracy, climate change and government policy.

Luckily our artists were on hand to read the tea leaves and cut through the spin. In addition to some talented familiar faces, led by our Political Cartoonist of the Year, Glen Le Lievre, Behind the Lines is introducing several first-time contributors into the mix who reflect our dynamic democracy. We hope your time consulting these ‘oracles’ helps you make sense of, and maybe even laugh at, 2021’s mixed fortunes.