IN THE GALLERY: Strontium 90

Yhonnie Scarce

6 Sep - 1 Oct 2016

Strontium 90 is a new body of work by Yhonnie Scarce which continues her examination into the 1950’s – 1960’s British atomic testing in Maralinga. The tests were done with little regard to the area’s significant local and nomadic indigenous groups. Some people were uprooted from their homes and relocated, while others, oblivious, continued to use tracks through the region as testing was underway.

In 2015, Scarce created hand blown Blue Danubes filled with her signature bush yams. Blue Danubes are a type of bomb that was commonly used by the British. 2016 sees Scarce’s new series shift to explore the after-effects of the testing. Strontium 90 is a fission by-product of nuclear explosions, which seeped into the food chain and lead to the deaths of hundreds of people in the area especially infants. 

Scarce has created a confronting and evocative installation using 1960’s and 1970’s neo natal baby cribs containing hand blown bush fruits. The cribs are exhibited alongside photographic documentation from the Woomera Cemetery, which contains the graves of dozens of infants affected by the testing.