Real Julia, an artwork by Penny Byrne, created in 2008
Real Julia by Penny Byrne

Engage with artworks created in response to political events involving Australian prime ministers. Resources include artworks by Australian artist Penny Byrne and the Behind the Lines political cartoons website.

How do artists respond to contemporary political events?


View and read about the artworks of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd created by Australian artist Penny Byrne. 

Research the leadership change from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard in 2010. Why was it considered a significant event?


What do the titles Real Julia and Saint Kevin 07 suggest about their intended meaning?

Using other resources on this page, consider how other artists interpreted issues in the wider debate about the 'Real Julia'?


Find two artworks with political messages, expressed in different art forms, for example songs, plays, paintings, drawings or sculptures. 

Analyse the political messages, and how effectively the artworks are used to express them. Share your reflections with others in your class - do they agree with your interpretation?


The artist Penny Byrne transforms existing objects into new artworks which offer political and social commentary.

Adapt an existing object, or create your own original object, to express a view on a current issue.

Join with others in your class to create an online exhibition of your created objects. Is there a common theme?

Civics and Citizenship – Years 8-9

History – Year 10

Visual Arts – Years 7-10


Museum of Australian Democracy