In a year that some have politely described as ‘a dog’s breakfast’, our theme encompasses 2020’s mix of disruption and uncertainty.

The term seems particularly fitting for something so unappealing – a year filled with mess, turmoil and failed attempts.

From the bushfire summer to the pandemic and global economic woes, Australia’s political cartoonists have had plenty to work with. They have cast their eyes over the whole dog and pony show. There’s the usual dog-eat-dog world of politics, with its top dogs, sly dogs and people thrown to the dogs. But they’ve also watched on as we’ve embraced panic buying, curves (on graphs and on ourselves) and experts in our midst (or at least at our press conferences). And masks. It’s been a year with plenty of masks.

In this year’s exhibition, visual cues from overlapping crises pepper the cartoons: Hawaiian shirts and burnt trees give way to masks and spiky balls. Fortunately, our cartoonists have also captured moments of goodness and humour amid the rolling drama. With luck, we can look back on 2020 – a masked, sloppy mess of a year – and send it firmly back to the doghouse where it belongs.