Future Hawke (what have we done to you) by Joan Ross - 2018 | Michael Reid Gallery

Joan Ross
Future Hawke (what have we done to you), 2018

hand-painted digital collage
111 x 79 cm

Finalist in the 2018 Sir John Sulman Prize for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media.

Joan Ross was the winner of the 2017 Sir John Sulman Prize.

Companion work:

George Raper “White Hawke of Port Jackson” 1789, 48.6 x 32.8 cm, the drawing is inscribed in black ink at bottom “WHITE-HAWKE of PORT-JACKSON – Natural Size – GEO: RapeR. # 1789 ~”. The bird was identified by noted orthologous Keith Hindwood (1964) as the White Goshawk Astur novaehollandiae.

George Raper (1769 – 1797) was a naval officer and illustrator rising as he did through the ranks, from a captain’s servant to the midshipman that he was, when he sailed with the First Fleet in 1788. On his travels from 1787 to 1792, George Raper undertook watercolours of birds, flowers and landscapes. Many of these drawings show species, which are extinct today. While stranded aboard the HMS Sirius in Sydney Harbour awaiting repairs, midshipman George Raper worked up a volume of watercolours ‘capturing’ the avian wonders of the new world. Among his captives is the White Hawke, painted in 1789.

Reaching back deep into time, and the early Western history of Australia, Joan Ross had what could only be described as a Rossian Moment;

”In 2018, stuck in my flat in Bondi awaiting a Woolies delivery, I decapitated Raper’s hawke, recolouring the body of the bird in fluorescent yellow paint to remind you of colonisations legacy, and renaming it Future Hawke. In my hands, this bird of prey becomes the past prophet of a lost future. This raptor’s call heralds more than two hundred years of ‘hawking’. More than two hundred years of loss and theft. Oh future what have we done to you?” Joan Ross, May 2018

In Future hawke (what have we done to you), 2018 Ross plays with the notion of loss and peddling. The loss of the White Goshawk Hawk and the peddling or “hawking” of our natural resources, for what future gain? Having raised the question Ross leaves that answer to the individual. Unsurprisingly Joan Ross is one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artist’s. She is a National Treasure.


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