Personal Structures: 55th Venice Biennale, Palazzo Bembo

Yhonnie Scarce

1 Jun - 24 Nov 2013

Personal Structures is a project initiated by Global Art Affairs. In 2013 Yhonnie Scarce is included in this curated exhibition that is an official satellite project to the 55th Venice Biennale. Global Art Affairs exhibits current developments in international art and they aim to bring together an international group of artists with different cultural backgrounds who are in different stages of their careers, i.e. established artists next to artists whose oeuvre might be less well known. The exhibition is held at the Palazzo Bembo (Venice) and runs for the entire time of the Biennale (June – November).

Blood on the Wattle (2013) commemorates all who have died as a result of the continually present colonial condition. The work comprises a perspex coffin holding close to 300 blown glass black bush yams. These indigenous fruits represent the large and unknown number of Indigenous peoples who have died due to factors of white settlement. Disease, displacement, drugs and alcohol along with massacre, eugenics, violence, deprivation and passive genocide are ways in which Indigenous Australians have died at the hands of European colonisers since 1788. In 2012 Indigenous Australians only make up 2.5% of Australia’s population as they continue to suffer the effects of colonial rule.

The juxtaposition of the perspex coffin and blown glass also bear significance in this work symbolising the containment of Indigenous peoples as well as the enforcement of western culture and ways of life. The work was created to provide a place to mourn and remember those who have died during the colonisation of Australia.

Blood on the Wattle is the title of a by Bruce Elder, first published in 1988 by New Holland Publishers Pty Ltd