Michael Leunig was born in East Melbourne in June 1945, a slaughterman's son. He says of himself that he "fled in disgrace from formal education" and pursued a successful career as a factory labourer and meatworker where he nurtured his art and philosophy before beginning work as a political cartoonist.
Leunig describes Enid Blyton, Arthur Mee, Phantom comics, The Book of Common Prayer, J.D. Salinger, Spike Milligan, Bruce Petty, Martin Sharp, Private Eye magazine and The Beatles were early creative influences and says that "his political consciousness intensified radically upon reading his notice of military conscription sent to him from the Australian government in 1965."
Leunig's first book of collected cartoons was published in 1974 and since then he has produced twenty-three more collections including books of newspaper columns, poetry and prayer. His prints, paintings and drawings have been exhibited broadly and are held in various public and private collections.
He has appeared in public conversations with leading thinkers, and in painting and poetry, theatre and musical performances. Leunig's various collaborations and journeys with indigenous painters from remote communities in northern and central Australia have greatly influenced his art, humour and philosophy.
In 1999 he was declared a national living treasure by the National Trust and he has received honorary university degrees.
Michael Leunig is a man of faith, devout nature lover and a parent. Each page this week includes both words and art work by him.
The Nathaniel Dett Chorale is a Canadian choral group that specializes in Afrocentric music of all styles including classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor formed the group in 1998.