Michael Leunig, a fifth generation Australian, never went to art school. After failing Year 12 high school twice, he got a job at the local slaughterhouse in Footscray, Melbourne with his father. While working at the meatworks, Leunig would dream up artistic ideas. The nature of his work led him to a level of sensitivity towards his human and animal art subjects.
For more than 40 years, Leunig's cartoons and poetry have struck a chord with Australians. His humour is dark; his themes are provocative. Apart from resonating widely with those who follow his work, it also results in him receiving heavy criticism from the media. He was even once charged with obscenity, a charge which was overturned by the judge who said that "if something was genuinely funny it couldn't be obscene"
While Leunig is best known for cartoons, he is also a noted painter. His influences are Matisse, Chagall, Klee, Miro and the indigenous artists from communities in Alice Springs and Cape York, where he worked.
Michael Leunig's works really pack a punch. They are challenging and offer a unique perspective on Australian life and our politics; while being charming, full of hope and heartwarming at the same time.