Yhonnie Scarce: The Light of Day | Artist Talk

Yhonnie Scarce: The Light of Day | Artist Talk

Hear from internationally recognised Kokatha and Nukunu artist Yhonnie Scarce as she discusses her solo exhibition Yhonnie Scarce: The Light of Day at AGWA.

Yhonnie Scarce brings her luminous and powerful works to The Art Gallery of Western Australia in the largest-ever ensemble of her collected glass and mixed-media works seen in Australia, for the Perth Festival in 2024.

One of the country's leading contemporary artists, Scarce is known for her large-scale, unforgettable glass installations that reveal hidden stories of Australia's foray into nuclear testing, and the impacts of colonisation on First Nations people, illuminating the artist's desire to bring the darkest shadows of Australia's past into the direct light of day.

The sheer scale of these works – installations of glass yams hung like oversized chandeliers in the gallery space – highlight the artistry and aesthetic beauty of the glass form. Through these evocative installations, Scarce's work makes visible the story of the dehumanising of First Nations families and communities told through the lens of archival imagery from her photographic collection, mingled with her handmade glass objects, both at an intimate and phenomenal scale.

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Yhonnie Scarce_Photo: Janelle Low
Yhonnie Scarce. Photo: Janelle Low.


About Yhonnie Scarce

Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples.

Scarce’s interdisciplinary practice explores the political nature and aesthetic qualities of glass and photography. Her work illuminates the history and impact of nuclear testing within the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia, referencing the ongoing impact of the removal and relocation of Aboriginal people from their homelands as a result. Family history is central to Scarce’s work; the artist revealing narratives critiquing the indentured labour her family members experienced.

Scarce’s professional profile has risen exponentially in recent years. In 2023, her work was exhibited in The Armory Show, New York and in 2022 at IKON Gallery Birmingham, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and has been acquired by the Foundation Opale, Switzerland. Remember Royalty (2018) was exhibited in A Year In Art: Australia 1992 at the Tate, London and Missile Park (2021) exhibited at Gropius Bau Berlin. Scarce has also held major solo exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and the Institute of Modern Art.

Her work is now held in most State galleries as well as Tate Gallery London, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Flinders University Art Museum, Shepparton Art Museum, and the University of South Australia.

On Saturday 27 August, the Gallery is open 10am-3pm only as we prepare for the AGWA Foundation Gala supporting women in the arts. Some exhibition access will be disrupted with two Tracks We Share ground floor galleries closed. AGWA Rooftop bar will be closed, reopening at 2pm Sunday. Details