Victoria has been the state hardest hit by the coronavirus in Australia.
The second wave of the virus, which broke out of a mismanaged hotel quarantine system in Melbourne has led to a large number of deaths and the virtual shutdown of Melbourne and parts of the state.
Victoria has also been isolated from the rest of the country, with other states closing their borders to it. The Federation of Australia established in 1901 has now reverted to a collection of competing colonies, wary of each other and protective of their borders.
The Victorian Government had a tough plan to get COVID-19 infections back under control and reduce daily virus cases but that involved a 6-week, Stage 4 lockdown in early July. A 5km restriction on personal movement, businesses closed, restaurants, pubs, cafes closed and only doing home delivery or takeaway, hospital surgeries delayed, schools using remote learning, no sport, one hour of outdoor exercise and the AFL and the Grand Final went to Queensland! This they hoped would reduce the transmission* of the virus. The target for the lifting of some of the restrictions was a 14-day average of five new cases. That was a tough number to aim for considering the state at its worst saw over 700 new cases in one day!
The lockdown was introduced and over time numbers came down but not within the six-week period, so the restrictions were extended and then extended some more ’til we were now in October and case number averages were around the low double-digit figures, but not the target of five Premier Dan wanted.
I felt a cartoon on this topic coming on.
As you can see in the last couple of paragraphs I’ve written, there are lots of numbers and averages involved and the issue can become complicated and people can lose interest, so I had to create a drawing that showed what was happening in a simple way.
The fact that Victoria was not hitting its target number gave me an idea. The image of a target: we see them in sports such as shooting and archery. What if I used that in the drawing and the bullseye might be our five cases we need to get down to. This I thought was a good way of illustrating a complex issue in an easy way.
Who should be the archer? Premier Andrews had made himself the face of the coronavirus response with his daily press conference briefing on the numbers so he was my preferred choice. I drew him standing facing the target, his bow is drawn back and he is aiming an arrow at the five cases bullseye.
But here is where we have to think about what we are trying to say in the cartoon.
During this extended lockdown, a lot of jobs have been lost, businesses closed, millions of lives affected and people’s mental health damaged. Victorians were becoming frustrated which is not good because then people start to ignore the rules. The longer we miss this target, the longer the lockdown and the more damage done.
So in order to show this collateral damage*, I have illustrated the Premier’s previous attempts at hitting the target. As you can see in the drawing there are stray arrows everywhere and the damage those missed shots have caused. There is even a passenger jet downed by an errant* arrow! (That’s cartoon exaggeration at its finest!)
Finally, in the cartoon I have the Premier turning his face towards the reader, looking hopefully/anxiously before he takes the shot at his five cases target. The eye contact between him and us is an important human connection and I like to use it in my drawings. We feel empathy for the Premier. We want him to hit that target!
- transmission: passing on
- collateral damage: unintentional damage on an unintended target
- errant: straying from the intended course
- Who is the Premier of Victoria?
- What does the number 5 signify?
- What does collateral damage mean, in your own words?
- Has an aeroplane actually been shot down with an arrow?
- What emotion does Mark Knight suggest we (or he) feel for the Premier?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. What Happens Next?
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is the start of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking
‘To be a great cartoonist, being able to draw is only one of the skills that you need.’ Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job. Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.
Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design
Look at the cartoon and make a list of 5 nouns that you see. Then describe those 5 nouns with 5 adjectives.
Be specific and add where those nouns using prepositions and another noun.
Now choose your favourite bundle and put all the words together to make one descriptive sentence.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you feel empathy for the Premier? How would you draw this cartoon?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.