When people ask about Monash, I always say the glass studio is the most beautiful I’ve worked in.Yhonnie Scarce
An acclaimed contemporary artist and master glass-blower, Yhonnie Scarce has had her works showcased in galleries across Australia and the world, including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, the National Gallery of Australia and the prestigious Venice Biennale.
Yhonnie’s work often references the ongoing effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people. Her research has explored the impact of nuclear testing and 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 Ms Scarce’s work, drawing on the experience and strength of her ancestors, and sharing their significant stories from the past in the present.
Born in Woomera, South Australia and from the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples, Yhonnie uses her art installations to wrestle with the pain and trauma of racism and colonialism that was inflicted upon her, her family and her ancestors.
“I experienced a lot of racism growing up, and I still do,” Yhonnie told Monash Lens in 2018. “For me, art is a good way to express that anger about what happened to us.”
Her work also engages with the disciplinary forms of colonial institutions and representation – religion, ethnography, medical science, museology, taxonomy – as well as monumental and memorial forms of public art and remembrance. Her work is both autobiographical and ancestral, ensuring that her family are never forgotten or lost within the labyrinthine administration of the colonial archive.
In 2008, she moved to Melbourne for a three-year residency at Monash University, where she also undertook a Master of Fine Art.
“When people ask me about Monash I always say the glass studio there is the most beautiful studio I’ve ever worked in,” she says.
“You don’t come across a studio that has a view of the city anywhere in the world that I’ve ever been to.”
Yhonnie is currently a Lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at The University of Melbourne.