Australian Political Cartoonist Michael Leunig Cancels All National Folk Festivals Citing Vaccination Views


The artwork of Michael Roynick, a prominent Australian artist, poet and political cartoonist, was drawn from a planned poster at the 2022 National Folk Festival (NFF) for his view on the COVID-19 vaccine. I did.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, the NFF Board acknowledged Roignig’s importance in Australia’s creative landscape, but the festival recognized his view on vaccination at the time of their collaboration. He said he would withdraw the artwork.

“The National Folk Festival is strongly committed to respecting the beliefs and opinions of individuals and their right to retain them,” a statement from the NFF said on August 30. Vaccination as one of the essential tools to advance the festival to 2022. “

Declared Roynick Living treasure of the country In 1999, the National Trust told the Epoch Times that he was shocked because he was unaware of the NFF’s decision.

“They didn’t ask me. I wasn’t asked:” Well, what’s your opinion? “He claimed on September 1 that he wasn’t really against vaccination. bottom.

The artist explained that his position on the COVID-19 vaccine is that individuals should follow their instincts and understanding, and it is their right to choose what to do with their body.

“I think there’s something very radical and fundamental at that boundary of our body. If people want to do it to make themselves feel better … good for them, I Support them. I support the people they choose, “he said.

Roynick said his view of the vaccine had been misrepresented over the years, which happened after him. Release A picture in the Fairfax media in 2015 delivered a message about parents’ right to decide whether a child is immunized.

“I made a cartoon, which was essentially not too difficult for a mother in favor of it. Take it easy,” he said.

Roynick said he was not trying to make an anti-vaxxer statement. Rather, he said: “If they have a conscientious kind of position and are trying to solve it, put people down.”

At that time, Australia was discussing whether to give compulsory vaccinations to school-aged children.But the cartoon prompted backlash from several sectors that labeled his view dangerous, Roynick said. Radio National When he and his family were threatened with murder.

He also chooses how the folk music festival, a genre of music born of traditional forms of music that was regularly used for social commentary, silences someone’s art. I questioned if I could do it.

Roynick said he had previously been pressured to support his beliefs after becoming a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. However, he recently stated that more people have been blamed by the public eye for their presumed views, especially if they deviate from the general social story.

“I simply labeled it with a permanent dye,” he said, referring to what is considered an anti-vaxxer after the comic was published.

Roynick uses his art as the voice of an intellectual opposition, and questioning what is happening in society is one of his obligations and his work as a political and social critic. Said it was a department.

Despite the backlash, Roynick points out that recent censorship requires more work to convey the message of sanity in today’s social environment.

“I don’t think I’ll censor myself, but I have to do three times as much effort to convey my sanity in times of madness,” the artist said. “I have to speak in metaphors and parables.”

The NFF decision to cancel the artwork occurs when Australia is experiencing a third outbreak of COVID-19 (Delta Variant) in two states and one region. An average of about 1,000 new community infections occur daily in the Greater Sydney area.

Currently, both federal and state authorities are promoting vaccination as a way out of the blockade measures that are part of Australia’s national strategy to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national cabinet (a national agency consisting of state and territory leaders and the prime minister) has taken steps to “accelerate vaccination rates” during Phase A, where each jurisdiction is the country’s current stage. I agreed to a four-step plan that requires that I do. schedule.

Phase B may mean that when 70% of people are vaccinated, they will be unlocked and the restrictions on fully vaccinated people will be relaxed. Phase C is triggered when 80% of people are vaccinated, and this stage may include border opening.

Victoria Kelly Clark