Olivia Sterling - Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Charity Auction London Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | Phillips
  • In Carnivorous Lunar Activities, Olivia Sterling presents a night-time scene of excess: ten impatient hands grab at a central chocolate cake, seemingly the last of three. At first glance saccharine, this painting is a sharp and humorous critique of privilege and self-entitlement that questions and exposes the ways in which race is seen and perceived.


    In this messy grab for food, two central hands are smeared with chocolate cake – appearing as brown skin – with other hands fighting to get in on the action. Sterling likens the buffet or all-inclusive holiday with entitlement, commenting that “it parallels how dominant cultures borrow and continue to use parts of marginalised one's for 'fun' or to look 'cool.” Here, sunburnt, pink skin offers the promise of being tanned - brown - “dangling over us how ridiculous visual-based discriminations are.”


    Inspired by the painting Panto Dame by Beryl Cook, a scene of pantomime-goers laughing at a stage performer exposing her undergarments, this work is also an extension of Sterling’s monumental painting All Inclusive 1 and 2 (2021) which was the climax of her acclaimed solo exhibition at Goldsmiths CCA in 2021.


    Installation view, Really Rough Scrubbing Brush, Goldsmiths CCA, 2021. Photo: Rob Harris
    Installation view, Really Rough Scrubbing Brush, Goldsmiths CCA, 2021. Photo: Rob Harris

    Born in Peterborough in 1996 and graduating from the RCA in 2020, Sterling has carved out a distinctive niche in using paint to address questions of blackness and whiteness in twenty-first century Britain. Her work uses caricature with a nostalgic twist to counter established notions of taste and social nicety and reveal a racialised way of seeing.  Her work has been included in exhibitions at Goldsmiths CCA, Sadie Coles, The Perimeter, Saatchi Gallery, and White Cube, among others. 

    • Description

      Image: Olivia Sterling

      Condition reports, Lot descriptions and information in respect of Lots included in this Online-Only Auction have been prepared exclusively by Whitechapel Gallery following Whitechapel Gallery’s assessment of the Lots. Phillips and its staff are not responsible in any way for such statements, representations or opinions or for any other information provided in respect of the Lots, whether by Whitechapel Gallery, on Phillips website or in any other form.

    • Provenance

      Donated by the artist


Carnivorous Lunar Activities

signed, inscribed and dated 'It was not giving what I deserve to be gave Olivia Sterling 22' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
120 x 100 cm (47 1/4 x 39 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2022.

Full Cataloguing

£6,000 - 8,000 


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