Joan Ross uses wit and the absurd to reexamine Australia’s colonial past. Her animations and prints show indigenous people and animals emerging from well-known eighteenth-century landscapes then blending back into them without a trace. In contrast, cut-outs of newly arrived settlers shuffle awkwardly, characterised by patches of harsh fluorescent yellow – a metaphor for colonisation. Ross’s sculptures of giant designer handbags, stitched from kangaroo hides, symbolise the destruction of aboriginal life and culture that followed. By delivering her message with humour she ensures that it packs a punch.

Ross’s work featured in the Royal Academy exhibition of Australian art and she appeared in the joint ABC/BBC television series The Art of Australia. She is represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, several regional galleries and in the John Kaldor Family Collection.

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