Yhonnie Scarce: A lens and a mirror

Last year the glass artist Yhonnie Scarce, whose heritage is Kokatha and Nukunu, was selected to feature in an official collateral exhibition of the 55th International Venice Biennale. A new work, Blood on the Wattle (2013), was commissioned for the exhibition at Palazzo Bembo near the Rialto Bridge and featured 225 hand-blown glass anthropomorphic forms encased in a perspex casket. Rather than re-present the work commissioned for Venice, Scarce produced a new work for the National Gallery of Victoria’s survey exhibition Melbourne Now. Blood on the Wattle (Elliston, 1849) is a memorial to the victims of a massacre on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. In this conversation with writer and broadcaster Daniel Browning, Scarce reflects on the power of glass as a medium to convey a political message, on serendipity, memorialisation and historical trauma.

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