Joan Ross has won the 2017 Sulman Prize with her work, Oh history, you lied to me.
The Sulman Prize is awarded for the best subject painting, genre painting, or mural project by an Australian artist.
Ross describes her winning subject painting as a “continuation of my interrogation of colonial collecting and of Australian colonisation. I imagine history is an unfaithful lover, in his own bubble with his lies, seduction and manipulation, only seeing from his position. Recreating the Leverian Museum, a catacomb of curiosities including those from Captain Cook’s voyages, and using my signature hi-vis as a metaphor for colonisation, I am critical of the collecting mentality as an ongoing disease fuelled by superiority and greed.”
Ross explains that Oh history, you lied to me is a recontextualising of Thomas Gainsborough’s Mr Andrews, taken directly from his painting Mr and Mrs Andrews (c1750) as the "arrogant butterfly murderer". Ross says she chose to “render him [Mr Andrews} unconcerned for the damage his infinite collecting causes”.