‘I really love birds,’ says Joan Ross, who has painted herself ‘as a colonial woman, with a headless bird, thinking about what we need to do to manage our collective future’.
‘Birds have survived for 150 million years, but the greed and selfishness of colonisation in the last few hundred years mean that species of birds (and other ancient creatures) are becoming extinct at an exponential rate.
‘I hold the bird in this self-portrait with so much love and care, but also with the sadness and irony of an embrace with a bird that has no head; a symbolic warning.
‘Without recognising ourselves as colonisers who have a long history of deeply embedded and destructive attitudes, we have no hope of changing our behaviour and our future.’
Finalist in the Archibald Prize 2021, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Archibald Prize 2021 tour: Gippsland Art Gallery: 8 October – 21 November 2021, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery: 4 December 2021 – 16 January 2022, Maitland Regional Art Gallery: 22 January – 6 March 2022, Cowra Regional Art Gallery: 18 March – 1 May 2022, New England Regional Art Museum: 13 May – 26 June 2022, Manning Regional Art Gallery: 8 July – 21 August 2022