IN THE GALLERY: The Silence of Others

Yhonnie Scarce

31 May - 21 Jun 2014


A new major installation of Glass and found objects. Featuring a 4 piece series of blown-glass domes or jars, Scarce reflects on the containment and classification of Indigenous peoples since colonisation. Enclosed in glass domes with a cracked and fractured finish, photographs of family members are displayed in a natural history museum-style fashion. Prior to the 1967 Referendum, Aboriginal people were classified under the Commonwealth Government’s Flora and Fauna Act, and not thought of as human beings. Scarce’s proposed work references this policy, with image of her ancestors displayed like specimens under a bell-jar. These photographs were retrieved from the South Australian Government Archives and are presented with their reference numbers fully intact – Australian Aboriginal people were photographed and tagged with identity numbers, just like common criminals and prison inmates.

The first bell jar contains blown glass indigenous fruit. This outlines the comparison between flora and Indigenous peoples and how they once held a shared place in the white Australian conscience. The cracked finish of the bell jars make it hard to see the entire photograph clearly. This references the recording of Aboriginal history since colonial settlement, the truth of which is fractured and not all disclosed.