PARTNER Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch SPONSOR Data General
Trace Hodgson began cartooning at the Christchurch Press in 1979. He also contributed to the New Zealand Times. In 1984, he became the Listener’s political cartoonist. Featuring a selection of his recent Listener cartoons, his show is presented alongside Tom Scott: Hung, Drawn, and Quartered, a touring show from Christchurch's Robert McDougall Art Gallery.
Wellington—home of the Beehive and the heart of national politics—is the natural location for an expanded show of political cartoons. Hodgson's and Scott's works are supplemented with historical pieces from the Sarjeant Gallery collection and the National Art Gallery, including works by William Bloomfield, Sir David Low, and Gordon Minhinnick.
The show is opened by Mike Moore, Minister of Tourism. The public programme includes former National Party Prime Minister Sir John Marshall on 'The Victim's Point of View'. 'Don't imagine victims don't like it—they love it', Marshall tells his audience at City Gallery. 'It's a healthy sport. Politicians enjoy it and value cartoons to the point of framing them and hanging them on their walls.' However, he says, today's cartoonists reflect the more aggressive, antagonistic, and personally abusive pattern of politics. He calls Sir Robert Muldoon, often depicted by Hodgson's sharp pen, 'unique—no other human being has ever taken quite that shape'. Other speakers include Palmerston North MP Trevor De Cleene on 'Political Wit and Wisdom', author Ian F Grant on 'Political Cartoons: A Historical Perspective', and Victoria University Political Science Lecturer Les Cleveland on 'Fools, Clowns, and Cartoons: The Comic Intelligence'.
Trace Hodgson: Political Cartoons is documented in an accompanying publication. The brief artist's foreword ends, 'one day someone in a silver suit will blow away the dust and say, "so that's what was happening in 1986".' Dear Reader, that day has arrived.