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 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’s professional profile has risen exponentially and in 2022 her work titled The Near Breeder was exhibited at Ikon Gallery Birmingham. Simultaneously, Shadow Creeper, another major installation, was shown at Palais De Tokyo, Paris, and was acquired by the Foundation Opale, dedicated to contemporary art, notably Australian Indigenous art, in Lens, Switzerland. Also in 2022, Scarce’s work Orford Ness was featured in the Aichi Triennale, Japan, and she finished an outstanding year exhibiting Missile Park at Gropius Bau, Berlin. This major commission from her exhibition at ACCA and IMA showcases works spanning the past fifteen years of her career.
Scarce won the prestigious Yalingwa Fellowship 2020 and was 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 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 Shepperton Art Museum.
Other recent international exhibitions include at Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea 2021, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Sante Fe, USA 2021, Paris Photo, Paris France 2020, Pavilion of Contemporary Art, Milan Italy, Museum of London, Ontario Canada 2020. Previous international shows include the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi India, 2018, 55th Venice Biennale collateral exhibition Personal Structures 2013, 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 co-curated Violent Salt at Artspace Mackay, which toured Australia. 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, 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 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 seen in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Tate Gallery London and Musem of Contemporary Art Sydney, Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Flinders University Art Museum, Australian War Memorial, The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Shepparton Art Museum, and the University of South Australia, among others.