The Wonderful Skills Of Cartoonists

His work exposed hypocrisy and self interest, but did so with irreverent humour and intelligence. A fierce defender of free speech, he could articulate his point in a way that was both challenging and thought provoking. Andrew Weeks on the late Bill Leak, cartoonist for The Australian

The must see “Ludicrous Likenesses”

By Roger Childs

Andy does not feature in the exhibition, but would not be out of place

Kapiti Independent is very fortunate to have the services of a quality cartoonist in Andy Tristram.

He is part of a long tradition in the art of caricature, which goes back to 16th century England when sketchers began lampooning the rich and famous, and commenting satirically on political events.

Cartoonists have frequently been a target for censorship and have often been feared by those in power. New Zealand’s David Low, working in London for the Daily Standard during the Second World War, was on Hitler’s hit list.  

No-one was safe from James Gillray

Probably the most daring phase in caricature and cartooning was in Georgian England, when no-one was safe, and the art plunged to the depths of depravity and rose to the heights of sublime satire.

Appropriately the New Zealand Carton Archive exhibition: Ludicrous Likenesses, in Shed 11 on the Wellington Waterfront begins with some works from one of the late 18th and early 19th century greats: James Gillray.

A superb range to delight and titillate

Caricature is only one face of the unruly, multi-headed beast that is cartooning. Exhibition pamphlet

The genius of Murray Webb

Apparently we all recognise faces more than anything else. Dunedin’s Murray Webb has specialised in the larger than life heads of the rich and famous with full colour and suitable exaggeration. Other like YEO have continued this approach.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a continuous video where the figures and faces of people from Barack Obama to Lydia Ko play and often morph into one another.

All the major New Zealand cartoonists are represented in the exhibition – Tom Scott, Trace Hodgson, Emmerson, Tremain et al – and a few from across the Tasman. Needless to say, prime ministers from Seddon to Muldoon, Lange, Shipley and Clark feature in a wide range of distinctive styles.

A real treat with a bonus

Ludicrous Likenesses: The Fine Art of Caricature is on at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery on Wellington’s waterfront until 23 October.

It’s free, and a bonus for viewers is the portrait gallery which you pass through on the way to the funnies.