The thing that has distinguished the ‘inspired genius’ from the run of the mill ‘practitioner’ in all creativity is quality of mind. Michael Leunig, few Australians have to be told, has this. But astonishingly, quality of mind has not been a gradual, developing part of Leunig’s work, for it was evident as an integral part of his art, first widely seen in the pages of the fondly remembered National Review fifteen years ago. This is not to say he has not developed – he has in subtle directions and of course his graphic expression too has developed, as it should, with the discipline of creating for the Melbourne Age newspaper.
During the 1970s, when Nation Review was a newspaper and the Labor Party was fair dinkum, this country spawned cartoonists like mushrooms in a paddock where cows have been defecating in a grand manner. The Vietnam war was on, but that didn’t stop the Melbourne Cup or the Grand Final, and it didn’t improve the economy as expected either.
We found lovely ways to get rid of some frightening chemical wastes, i.e., we tipped them on Asian forests: all the better to see you with.