First Nations museum memorials: Daniel Boyd and Yhonnie Scarce

In a society still predominantly operating with a colonial mentality, leading First Nations artists Daniel Boyd (Kudjala/Gangalu/Waka Waka/Gubbi Gubbi/Wangerriburra/Bundjalung, Ni-Vanuatu heritage) and Yhonnie Scarce (Kokatha/Nukunu) understand that as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we have always resisted. In their recent architectural commissions made in collaboration with Naarm/Melbourne-based architects Edition Office (Kim Bridgland and Aaron Roberts), Boyd and Scarce reclaim physical sovereign space both within national institutions and in the broader context of colonised Country. For First Nations Australians, this reclamation of physical space is a necessity in the campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty. At the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) respectively, Boyd’s For Our Country (2019) and Scarce’s In Absence (2019) become articulations of embodied knowledge of place and space, countering ideas that have dominated national narratives of Australia’s social and cultural histories. At these two sites, the histories of local and pan-Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are preferenced; culture stands as a pediment, recalling First Nations fight and survival. 

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