Joan Ross (b. 1961, Australia) 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, characterized by patches of harsh fluorescent yellow – a metaphor for colonization. Ross’s sculptures of giant designer handbags, stitched from kangaroo hides, symbolize the destruction of aboriginal life and culture that followed. By delivering her message with humour she ensures that it packs a punch.
Ross has exhibited widely in Australia and abroad including the UK, China and Italy. Recent exhibitions include 20-50% off all plants and animals, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Katoomba, Australia (2015); and STREETWISE, Contemporary Print Culture, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia (2015). 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. Her work is included in the collections the National Gallery of Australia and the John Kaldor Family Collection, in addition to several regional galleries throughout Australia.