Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. Yhonnie’s interdisciplinary practice explores the political nature and aesthetic qualities of glass and photography.
Her work often references the on-going effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people; 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 Yhonnie’s work, drawing on the strength of her ancestors, she offers herself as a conduit, sharing their significant stories from the past.
Violent Salt brings together contemporary artists from across Australia representing diverse cultural heritage. Co-curated by Yhonnie Scarce and Claire Watson, the exhibition reflects on the experiences of the marginalised, the underrepresented and the silenced. The exhibition discusses issues surrounding racism and discrimination against First Nations peoples and minority groups as well as the lack of respect for, and desecration of culture and the natural environment.
Violent Salt invites artists to speak their truths about these experiences and offers an opportunity for understanding and connection, whilst seeking to celebrate and honour Australia’s unique multiculturalism and landscape.
The works presented in Violent Salt reflect on a social, physical and geographical landscape that has been witness to violence and oppression. It questions how we can repair deep wounds, re-connect across culture and assert and celebrate cultural identities meaningfully and transformatively.
Violent Salt features works by Abdul Abdullah (NSW), Vernon Ah Kee (QLD), Richard Bell (QLD), Daniel Boyd (NSW), Megan Cope (QLD), Karla Dickens (NSW), S.J. Norman (VIC) Yhonnie Scarce (VIC/SA) and Jemima Wyman (QLD). Violent Salt is an Artspace Mackay Touring Exhibition co-curated by Yhonnie Scarce and Claire Watson. Yhonnie has been recognised with a major survey show at ACCA and IMA in 2021, with works spanning the past fifteen years of her career. She was the winner of the prestigious Yalingwa Fellowship, 2020 and selected with Edition Office for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Architecture Commission, 2019, which was awarded the Small Building of the Year award at the Dezeen Awards and the Award for Small Project Architecture, 2020 at the National Architecture Awards. In 2018 Yhonnie 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 Shepperton Art Museum.
Recent international exhibitions include at IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK, Paris Photo, Paris, France, Pavilion of Contemporary Art, Milan, Italy, Museum of 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.
Yhonnie 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 Yhonnie 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, Art Gallery of NSW 2017, The 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial 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.
In 2012 Yhonnie 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.
Yhonnie’s work is seen in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Flinders University Art Museum, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and the University of South Australia