Yhonnie Scarce, Remember Royalty (Fanny – Andamooka opal fields), 2018, detail. Courtesy: the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne.
Held in the Grand Palais, Paris Photo is the world’s largest international art fair dedicated to photography. Yhonnie Scarce will be the first female Australian Indigenous artist to show at the prestigious event, with Melbourne gallery THIS IS NO FANTASY.
Scarce’s practice explores the political nature and aesthetic qualities of glass when combined with materials such as photography and textiles, referencing the history of nuclear testing on her family’s homelands, and illuminating the ongoing effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people. Family history is central to Scarce’s work, drawing on the strength of her ancestors, she offers herself as a conduit, sharing their significant stories from the past. Scarce often recreates bush tucker in the form of yams, bush bananas and plums that are prevalent on her Country, their delicate shapes metaphorically representing her family and her abiding connection to the land.
Scarce’s Remember Royalty honours generations of her ancestors in a work reminiscent of a shrine or monument. Large-scale banners are suspended in space like religious pennants, adorned with historical photographs that have been meticulously transferred onto fabrics relating to each family member. Alongside each portrait which are drawn from family archives are intricate hand-crafted gifts created in glass by Scarce to honour her ancestors.
Scarce says of her new work: “As far as I am concerned my grandparents, great-grandparents and those people who walked my Country before me, are Australia’s royalty.”
Exhibition runs: 6–10 November 2019