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Yhonnie Scarce to return to Ikon in 2021

We are pleased to announce that Australian Aboriginal artist Yhonnie Scarce will return to Ikon in Spring 2021 to continue her artist residency and present an exhibition of new work in Ikon’s Tower Room.

Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. Working with glass, Scarce explores the political nature and aesthetic qualities of the material – in particular, corresponding to the crystallisation of desert sand as a result of British nuclear tests on her homeland during 1956-63.

In March 2020, Scarce began researching materials held in archives at the University of Birmingham. These include documents related to the scientific research of German physicists Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls, which led to the development of the atom bomb. Alongside her research, Scarce began making new work at the University of Wolverhampton, home to one of the UK’s largest glassblowing facilities.

We recently caught up with Scarce about her current projects:

Right now, I am working from home, last week Melbourne returned to stage 3 lockdown because of a second wave of the Coronavirus – it will remain that way until the middle of August. Possibly longer.  I travel a lot for my art practice, fieldwork is a major component of my research – so being ‘still’ in these strange circumstances has been a big learning experience for me.  My sister thinks it is a good thing that I am close to home at the moment – personally, I would love to be in the middle of the desert in South Australia. The landscape out there is beautiful – powerful and silent. I miss it and my mind visits there often. At the moment I am working on new work for Looking Glass that opens at TarraWarra Museum of Art in December.  So, there has been a lot of talking to friends and family about the history of the nuclear tests that happened at Emu Field, and Maralinga – in particular the destructive nature of radiation.  My research about Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls at The University of Birmingham had only just begun before I was sent home to Australia – so I am excited about returning soon.

Watch Yhonnie Scarce working at the University of Wolverhampton’s glassblowing facilities below:

Organised by Ikon and TarraWarra Museum of Art with consultant curator Hetti Perkins. Supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Australian High Commission in the United Kingdom.

This exhibition has received assistance from NETS Victoria’s Exhibition Development Fund, supported by Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.


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