Artistic aftershocks: Guirguis New Art Prize 2017

Yhonnie Scarce, The More Bones the Better, 2016, installation view; image courtesy the artist and Post Office Gallery, Federation University Australia

Yhonnie Scarce, The More Bones the Better, 2016, installation view; image courtesy the artist and Post Office Gallery, Federation University Australia

A work that hauntingly illuminates ‘the shocking and little discussed histories of Aboriginal exploitation and abuse in the name of science in Australia’ has received this year’s acquisitive AU$20,000 Guirguis New Art Prize (GNAP) at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Yhonnie Scarce’s installation work The More Bones the Better (2016) comprises both blown and shattered glass elements, reflecting ‘in the same way those lived and documented experiences continue to haunt the collective unconscious of this country,’ said Simon Maidment, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Born in Woomera, South Australia, of the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples, Melbourne-based Scarce has sensitively explored the intervention of science on Indigenous cultures through the medium of glass, with her work soon to be featured in May’s 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial, ‘Defying Empire’, at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

 Scarce was one of 14 finalists in the exhibition and prize ‘GNAP17’, chosen by curators at major Australian public galleries, and displayed across two sites, Federation University Australia’s Post Office Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ballarat, until 14 May 2017.