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Drawing Truth To Power

Badiucao, Cathy Wilcox
Chaired by Dan Ilic
Sun 18 September 11:00am
Sun 18 September 11:00am
For cartoonists trapped between censorship and cancellation, what is there still left to draw?

Drawing truth to power is more dangerous in some parts of the world than in others. The unique package of humour and anger that powers the best political cartoons can make them lethal to politicians of all stripes, and apparently, some of them just can’t take a joke.  But audiences have also decided that funny is not enough and are flexing their muscles about where the lines should be drawn between humour and offence. For cartoonists trapped between censorship and cancellation, what is there still left to draw? 

My understanding of art is it is a language, it is a vehicle for me to deliver messages and I have these messages to tell the world about China and human rights, about democracy and freedom.


Badiucao is one of the most popular and prolific political artist from China, and he confronts a variety of social and political issues head on in his work. He uses his art to challenge the censorship and dictatorship in China. He believes history is constantly being unified and tampered with, and even forgotten, when free speech and democracy are absent. His art is a record of his personal perspective on social issues to confront the official record. He believes art and the internet has the power to deconstruct the arrogance and authority of dictatorship as a building block of individual awakening and free independence.

Image: Jan Slavik


Cathy Wilcox

Cathy Wilcox was born in 1963 and studied Visual Communications at Sydney College of the Arts. A latent francophile, she travelled to France in 1985 and lived in Paris, where she pursued some further study in literature and found work as an illustrator. Returning to Australia in 1988, she found various freelance illustration work, including children’s book illustration, as well as the occasional spot cartoon in the Sydney Morning Herald and other publications. She secured a regular spot in the Stay in Touch column in 1989, where she honed her skills with the freedom, and pressure, to draw cartoons. She now draws editorial cartoons for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Over the years she has illustrated over 20 children’s books and been involved in several theatre productions. She has been invited to numerous international cartoon conferences and is a member of Cartooning for Peace and a representative of the Cartoonists Rights Network International. She has also been a long time member of the Australian Cartoonists Association, of which she is currently president. She has received several Stanley Awards, three Walkley Awards and has twice been named Political Cartoonist of the Year by the Museum of Australian Democracy.

Image: Rhett Wyman.


Dan Ilic

‘Investigative Humourist’ Dan Ilic is one of Australia’s most prolific comedy voices, known for his work across TV, film, radio and stage. He raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to shame the Australian Government’s record on climate action in Times Square, New York City before the Glasgow climate talks in 2021. Co-host of the popular podcast and live comedy show A Rational Fear, Dan Ilic and Lewis Hobba brings together industry leaders to use comedy to explore big issues. A Rational Fear won Best Comedy Podcast at the Australian Podcast Awards in 2020 and 2001. He has sold out shows at the Sydney Opera House, entertained with seasons on ABC Radio National, and performed stand-up under rocket fire in Kandahar. As a journalist, Dan broke the news of Heath Ledger’s death to the world and covered the US election for Fairfax Media, was appointed the senior satire producer of Al Jazeera’s youth publisher AJ+ and in 2016 he covered the US election while Executive Producer of Satire for Fusion/Gizmodo Media Group in the USA. He landed back in Australia as the Executive Producer and Showrunner of the daily satirical TV show Tonightly with Tom Ballard (ABC), the AACTA nominated At Home Alone Together (ABC).