The artwork for Crikey’s groundbreaking dossier of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s lies and falsehoods is a giant, detailed, busy mural tracking instances of dishonesty. It was designed by Crikey visual satirist and illustrator Sarah Nagorcka — or, as we know her, Gorkie.
There are at least two dozen elements in the picture, from a truck filled with AstraZeneca vaccines being followed by a van with the European Union flag on it and a rat running from a kangaroo, to a giant upturned piggybank spilling coins all over a football field (Gorkie’s favourite).
“I tried to put in some elements that were a bit fantastical,” Gorkie said.
“So, anything that’s larger than life and doesn’t really fit into the size of the piece is what I enjoy the most.”
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There are references to the Murdoch media agenda, Pentecostalism, finger-pointing, medivac and suggestions of increasing secrecy — with a judge getting ready to slam her gavel down on a man looking through a magnifying glass.
Gorkie said she spent about 48 hours in total on the piece. It’s filled with minute details, many of which audiences may miss. One element she thinks isn’t very obvious is the evolution of prime ministers — with creatures transforming into John Howard, then Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, emulating the evolution of man — a nod to Georgia Wilkins and Bernard Keane’s article on previous governments’ lack of truthfulness. Another is Trump’s face in the top right of the image.
Even though Gorkie is tuned in to the political world — she is, after all, an avid Crikey reader — she said the dossier was shocking.
“I think it’s just the cumulative effect of this, hearing lie after lie or corruption and the effect that it has on you, where you just become complacent and become numb to it,” she said.
“The fact that you can get used to them was shocking.”
Gorkie never intended to be a political visual satirist. She studied pharmacology and worked as a pharmacist but was always trying to find a way to add arts to her career — writing a play about antimicrobial resistance before transitioning into a cancer research support, communication and design role.
Changing focus from health to politics hasn’t been easy: “I’ve made more existential content in the past so turning it quite political was a bit of a switch for me, but it was a challenge I was after.”