VIRTUAL COLLECTION: JOAN ROSS Colonial Grab
JOAN ROSS Colonial Grab 2015, HD video animation, 7 min 38 sec. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Joan Ross 2018.
Born 1961, Glasgow, Scotland. Lives and works Sydney, NSW. Ross works across a range of mediums including drawing, painting, installation, photography, sculpture and video. Her works are sharp witted satires, addressing issues of ownership, surveillance, collective anxiety and public and private boundaries. Her experimental practice investigates the legacy of colonialism in Australia, particularly in regard to its effect on Indigenous Australians.
Colonial Grab (2015) is an animation of scenes that traverse time and place. From a pokie parlour, through a remote Australian landscape and the colonial landscapes of John Glover, to a macabre Ikebana demonstration, we are transported through a satirical take on our way of life. Using animation Ross is able to re-script the pictorial imagination and at the same time expose the cruelty and self-centred, destructive nature of colonisation.
Employing her signature hi-vis fluoro (a direct comment on our societal values around power, control and authority) on the well-to-do colonial couple she accentuates their disregard of the landscape and the original Indigenous inhabitants. While they trespass in a John Glover painting, they also return their Ikebana trees to the landscape with a curtsey, perhaps a small sign of respect. Once returned the trees burst their glass vases and consume the landscape. Through her visual parody and provocative imagery Ross’ insists we confront our colonial history and reminds us of the ongoing repercussions of that history.