Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. Her interdisciplinary practice explores the political nature and aesthetic qualities of glass and photography. Scarce’s work often references the ongoing effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people; in particular her research has explored the impact of 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 strength of her ancestors, she offers herself as a conduit, sharing their significant stories from the past.
Scarce was recently announced as the winner of the prestigious Yalingwa Fellowship, 2020, and was selected for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Architecture Commission, 2019. In 2018, Scarce was the recipient of the Kate Challis RAKA award for her contribution to the visual arts in Australia, as well as the Indigenous Ceramic Award from the Shepparton Art Museum.
Recent international exhibitions include Paris Photo, Paris, France; Pavilion of Contemporary Art, Milan, Italy; Museum London, Ontario, Canada. Previous international shows include the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India, 2018; 55th Venice Biennale collateral exhibition Personal Structures, 2013, Venice; Galway Art Centre, Ireland, 2016; Harvard Art Museum, Massachusetts, 2016; Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum, Virginia, USA, 2012.
Scarce was curated into the 2020 Adelaide Biennial at the Art Gallery of South Australia and has co-curated Violent Salt at Artspace Mackay, which will tour Australia until 2021. In 2018, Scarce was curated into major shows and public commissions throughout Australia, including the Biennale of Australian Art, Ballarat; Installation Contemporary, Sydney; the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and the Newcastle Art Gallery. Previous major shows include The National: New Australian Art 2017, Art Gallery of NSW, 2017; The 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial, 2017; the 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.
In 2012, Scarce held a residency and exhibited at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum, University of Virginia, USA and participated in Aboriginal art symposiums at Seattle Art Museum and the Hood Museum, New Hampshire.
Scarce’s work is held in major Australian public collections including: National Gallery of Victoria; Art Gallery of South Australia; National Gallery Australia; Flinders University Art Museum; Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; and the University of South Australia.
Artworks — Exhibitions
Yhonnie Scarce Only a mother could love them 2016
hand blown glass 25.0 x 15.0 cm diameter each (variable sizes – approx.) Monash University Collection Purchased by the Monash Business School 2017 Courtesy of Monash University Museum of Art Courtesy of the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne
Yhonnie Scarce Fallout Babies 2016
blown glass, acrylic and found hospital cribs dimensions variable Collection of the artist Courtesy of the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne Photo: Janelle Low
Yhonnie Scarce Fallout Babies 2016
installation view, Strontium 90, THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne, 2016 Courtesy of the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne Photo: Janelle Low
Yhonnie Scarce Glass Bomb (Blue Danube) Series IV 2015
hand blown glass 20 x 60 x 20 cm RMIT University Art Collection Courtesy of the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne Photo: Stephanie Bradford