Yhonnie Scarce is an artist known for sculptural installations which span architecturally-scaled public art projects to intimately-scaled assemblages replete with personal and cultural histories. Scarce is a master glass-blower, which she puts to the service of spectacular and spectral installations full of aesthetic, cultural and political significance. Her work also engages the photographic archive and found objects to explore the impact and legacies of colonial and family histories and memory.
Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia in 1973, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. Scarce’s work often references the on-going effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people. Her research has explored the impact of nuclear testing and the removal and relocation of Aboriginal people from their homelands and the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families. Family history is central to Scarce’s work, drawing on the experience and strength of her ancestors, and sharing their significant stories from the past in the present. Her work also engages with the disciplinary forms of colonial institutions and representation—religion, ethnography, medical science, museology, taxonomy—as well as monumental and memorial forms of public art and remembrance. Her work is both autobiographical and ancestral, ensuring that her family are never forgotten or lost within the labyrinthine administration of the colonial archive.
Featuring a major new commission and drawing upon existing works over the past fifteen years, Yhonnie Scarce: Missile Park has been developed by the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane in partnership with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, where the exhibition was presented from 27 March to 14 June.
Curators: Lisa Waup, Max Delany, and Liz Nowell
This exhibition includes fragile works in glass. Visitors are reminded to please refrain from touching the works.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this exhibition contains images of deceased persons.
The day we went away, 2004
Blood on the wattle (Elliston, South Australia, 1849), 2013
What they wanted, 2006–10
Working class man (Andamooka opal fields), 2017
Burial ground, 2009
The cultivation of whiteness, 2013
Missile Park, 2021
Weak in colour but strong in blood, 2014
About Yhonnie Scarce
Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia in 1973, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. Recent international exhibitions include Pavilion of Contemporary Art, Milan, Italy 2019, and the Museum of London, Ontario, Canada 2019. Previous international shows include the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India, 2018; Personal Structures, collateral exhibition, 55th Venice Biennale, 2013; Galway Art Centre, Ireland 2016; Harvard Art Museum, Massachusetts 2016; and Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum, Virginia, USA, 2012.
Recent Australian exhibitions include Looking Glass: Judy Watson and Yhonnie Scarce, Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2020; A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne 2018; The National, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2017; The 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia 2017; 19th Biennale of Sydney, 2014; and a site-specific installation at the Art Gallery of South Australia as part of Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary and Torres Strait Islander Art, 2016. Scarce was recently the recipient with Edition Office architects of the prestigious National Gallery of Victoria Architecture Commission in 2019 which was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects Small Projects Award in 2020 and the Small Building of the Year in the 2021 Dezeen Awards.
Free Film Screening:
Thursday 29 July, 6pm
Saturday 4 September, 2pm
Nuclear Histories with Dr Liz Tynan
Thursday 19 August, 6pm
Stream via Zoom or join us for a live screening at the IMA
Reading and Listening Group
Natalie Harkin: Archival-Poetics
Thursday 5 August, 6pm
Thursday 26 August, 6pm
Thursday 9 September, 6pm
Developed, and with a new co-commission, in partnership with Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.