Yhonnie Scarce: A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness

Yhonnie Scarce belongs to the Kothaka and Nunuku peoples of South Australia. Yhonnie Scarce’s practice explores the political nature and aesthetic qualities of glass, 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 new series, Remember Royalty 2018, commissioned by ACCA for A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness 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.

This video was produced in partnership with Art Guide Australia.
Director: Sian Darling
Cinematographer: Ben Helweg