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b. 1973, Australia

Yhonnie Scarce Biography

Yhonnie Scarce is an Australian artist and descendent of the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples, known for her glass-based sculptures and installations that address the lingering effects of colonisation on modern-day Australia.

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Combining research, archival material, and family history, Scarce brings attention to the historical displacement and exploitation of Aboriginal peoples as well as the discrimination that continues to affect Indigenous communities in contemporary Australian society.

Thunder Raining Poison

Yhonnie Scarce's hand-blown glass sculptures often assume the shape of bush food, serving as a conduit through which the artist addresses the lesser-known aspects of Australian history. The large-scale installation Thunder Raining Poison (2015), for example, references the British nuclear tests at Maralinga in the 1950s through a cascade of more than 2,000 glass yams suspended from the ceiling. In Strontium — 90: Fallout Babies (2016), presented at Sydney Contemporary, Scarce places glass bush fruits in cribs to demonstrate the generational impact of the nuclear tests on Aboriginal communities, including her grandfather's and her own Kokatha Country.

National Gallery of Victoria Architecture Commission

In 2019, Yhonnie Scarce and the architecture studio Edition Office were awarded the National Gallery of Victoria Architecture Commission to present their collaboration In Absence at the NGV, Melbourne. Measuring 9 metres in height, the installation is a black wooden tower with an opening in the middle and reflective, black glass yams on its inside walls. The structure of In Absence evokes the traditional built structures and eel traps long employed by Indigenous communities, while its complex, glittering interior critiques the imperialist claim of terra nullius that served to justify the British colonisation of Australia.

Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art

In the dead house, conceived for the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres, is an installation of 30 glass bush bananas staged at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens inside the Dead House, a stone structure that once acted as a mortuary. The bananas, rendered in semi-opaque white with fissures on their sides, were lined along tables and carts as if they were scientific specimens or organs on display. The artwork invokes the history of the Dead House, where the Scottish coroner William Ramsay Smith allegedly misused human remains in the mortuary, including those of Aboriginal peoples.

Curation

In 2019, Yhonnie Scarce and Claire Watson co-curated Violent Salt, a group exhibition that examines the prejudice and discrimination experienced by First Nation peoples and marginalised communities in Australia. Launched at Artspace Mackay, Queensland, Violent Salt is scheduled to tour Australia throughout 2021.

Solo and Group Exhibitions

Yhonnie Scarce has presented her work in Sydney Contemporary (2018), Sydney Biennale (2014), and the Venice Biennale (2013). Yhonnie Scarce: Missile Park, a major survey of her work, opened at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne, in March 2021. Jointly organised by ACCA and Brisbane's Institute of Modern Art, it considers the past fifteen years of Scarce's practice.

Past group exhibitions include Looking Glass: Judy Watson and Yhonnie Scarce, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Melbourne (2020); Ways of Being, Museum London, Ontario (2019); A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness, ACCA, Melbourne (2018); Indigenous Australia: Masterworks from the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (2018); Colony: Frontier Wars, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2018); The National 2017: New Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2017); Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of South Australia (2015).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021

Yhonnie Scarce Featured Artworks

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In the dead house by Yhonnie Scarce contemporary artwork
Yhonnie ScarceIn the dead house, 2020Hand blown glass bush bananas and vintage mortuary trolley. Dimensions for trolley 650 wide 1740 long and 850 high. 30 pieces, blown glass dimensions variable
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein Contact Gallery
Family Portrait by Yhonnie Scarce contemporary artwork
Yhonnie ScarceFamily Portrait, 2008Found alcohol bottles, twine and wood, dimenions variable
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein Contact Gallery
Nucleus by Yhonnie Scarce contemporary artwork
Yhonnie ScarceNucleus, 2021Hand blown glass bush plums, dimensions variable
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein Contact Gallery
Barwell and Beverly - Andamooka Opal Fields by Yhonnie Scarce contemporary artwork
Yhonnie ScarceBarwell and Beverly - Andamooka Opal Fields, 2019Water based ink screen print, vintage tent, hand blown glass
250 x 172 cm
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein Contact Gallery
Hollowing Earth by Yhonnie Scarce contemporary artwork
Yhonnie ScarceHollowing Earth, 2016–2017Blown and hot formed Uranium glass
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein Contact Gallery
Fallout Babies by Yhonnie Scarce contemporary artwork
Yhonnie ScarceFallout Babies, 2016Blown glass, acrylic and found hospital cribs
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein Contact Gallery
Only a Mother Could Love Them by Yhonnie Scarce contemporary artwork
Yhonnie ScarceOnly a Mother Could Love Them, 2016Blown glass and mortuary table
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein Contact Gallery
Glass Bomb (Blue Danube series) by Yhonnie Scarce contemporary artwork
Yhonnie ScarceGlass Bomb (Blue Danube series), 2015hand blown glass bomb and yarns
60 x 25 x 25 cm
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein Contact Gallery

Yhonnie Scarce Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Yhonnie Scarce, In the dead house at THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Closed
4–30 May 2021 Yhonnie Scarce In the dead house THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola steinMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Kirsten Coelho, Michael Cook, Petrina Hicks, Lakin Ogunbanwo, Yhonnie Scarce, Jacqui Stockdale, Summer 2018 at THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Closed
24 November–16 December 2018 Kirsten Coelho, Michael Cook, Petrina Hicks, Lakin Ogunbanwo, Yhonnie Scarce, Jacqui Stockdale Summer 2018 THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola steinMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Yhonnie Scarce, Strontium 90 at THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Closed
10 September–8 October 2016 Yhonnie Scarce Strontium 90 THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola steinMelbourne

Yhonnie Scarce Represented By

Yhonnie Scarce In Ocula Magazine

Yhonnie Scarce: 'Australia is very good at forgetting the past' Ocula Conversation  |  Published in Partnership with ACCA Melbourne Yhonnie Scarce: 'Australia is very good at forgetting the past' By Daniel Browning, Melbourne

Yhonnie Scarce reflects on the themes running through her solo exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Missile Park.

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Notes On Desire: The 19Th Biennale Of Sydney Ocula Feature Notes On Desire: The 19Th Biennale Of Sydney By Stella Rosa McDonald, Sydney

" Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will." George Bernard Shaw In 1879, a French postman named Ferdinand Cheval began building an esoteric homage to the beauty of sandstone. On one of his postal rounds, Cheval came across small pieces of...

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Yhonnie Scarce In Related Press

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Yhonnie Scarce wins 2018 Indigenous Ceramic Award Related Press Yhonnie Scarce wins 2018 Indigenous Ceramic Award 30 August 2018, Art Guide Australia

Congratulations to Yhonnie Scarce who has taken out the 2018 Indigenous Ceramic Award (ICA) with her porcelain and glass work, Servant and Slave, 2018. The $20,000 award is acquisitive and Scarce's piece will join the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) permanent collection. The judges for the 2018 award were Stephen Gilchrist, associate lecturer of...

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What to see and expect from Sydney Contemporary 2018 Related Press What to see and expect from Sydney Contemporary 2018 28 August 2018, Vogue

As Australia's leading art fair, Sydney Contemporary manages to make art critics into art lovers and the unanointed into worshippers, all within the space of three days.

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'Sovereignty' at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art Related Press 'Sovereignty' at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art 23 March 2017, ArtAsiaPacific

Since 1788, Australia's indigenous populations have been subjected to mass traumas due to the explicit and insidious incursions of settler colonies. These traumas remain unhealed, though the current sociopolitical climate not only fosters advocacy by both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to acknowledge the violent settlement of Australia, but...

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'Who’s Afraid of Colour?': 118 Aboriginal women artists at NGV Australia Related Press 'Who’s Afraid of Colour?': 118 Aboriginal women artists at NGV Australia 16 March 2017, Art Radar Journal

The diverse work of Indigenous Australian women artists is celebrated through the thematic framework of the exhibition Who's Afraid of Colour? at the Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Australia from 16 December 2016 to 17 April 2017. Its intention is to explore Aboriginal women artists as innovators and transformers of...

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