Hotel (Pripyat), Chernobyl exclusion zone, 2019. Image courtesy Yhonnie Scarce and Lisa Radford.

26 February - 24 April 2021

Curated by:
Yhonnie Scarce
Lisa Radford

Opening Hours:

Tues – Fri, 11am – 4pm
Sat, 10am – 5pm

  • Wheelchair Access

Yhonnie Scarce is a Kokatha and Nukunu woman whose famous sculpture Thunder Raining Poison reimagines the Maralinga blast (which turned the red desert sand to glass) with 2000 hand-blown glass yams hung in the form of post-nuclear cloud. Together with artist and writer Lisa Radford, she travelled to various sites around the world investigating the commemoration, or deliberate sequestration, of acts of genocide, colonisation and nuclear trauma.

This comprehensive exhibition unites the responses of international and Australian artists, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to the implications of Maralinga as an example of how terra nullius has seeped into this country’s psyche, rendering land uninhabitable and history unspeakable. And it also goes much further, presenting provocative reactions from Japanese artists to Hiroshima and Fukushima, New York artists to Ground Zero, Samoan to Pacific test sites, Croatian to Ustaše concentration camps, Georgian artists to Soviet monumentalism. 

Some works will leave you deeply moved while others will fascinate, illuminating how different pockets of the world have experienced overwhelming and long-lasting cultural and ecological change. Take the film by internationally-acclaimed contemporary artist Phil Collins, which documents testimonies from Albanian survivors recounting in Serbian the reasons why they no longer speak Serbian - the ‘language of the enemy’. Or Waanyi artist Judy Watson’s immersive video installation documenting massacre sites and the trees that stand upon them, mute witnesses to horrors past.
There is a profound sense in this far reaching group exhibition of the present being haunted by the past: our world is a palimpsest in which history seeps through and can never finally be erased. 

The project has been made possible by Creative Victoria – Creators Fund, and has been assisted by the Australian Government through Australia Council and The Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne.