One of Australia's leading artists, Daniel Boyd is recognised for his interrogation of Eurocentric perspectives on Australian history and the ethics of colonisation. Boyd's works reveal an underlying theme of inheritance and explore the effects of time and memory on the interpretation of objects and images. His current series of history paintings investigate scenes and objects with cultural, personal and art-historical significance.
In 'Untitled' 2014, Boyd presents an idyllic scene drawn from a found photograph of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. Pentecost Island was home to Boyd's great, great paternal grandfather before he was brought to the sugarcane fields in Queensland as a slave. Many South Sea islanders were brought here to support this industry between 1863 and 1904, under controversial recruitment processes. They worked for little or no pay and often endured harsh conditions, with their important contribution to Australia receiving little recognition.
Contemplative, emotive and intriguing 'Untitled' 2014 exposes this aspect of our history and explores Boyd's tenuous attachment to the country of his ancestors. Veiled in transparent dots the view of country is partial, incomplete, like the recording of history. Rendered in a reduced palette the work is in stark contrast to typical colourful depictions of a carefree island life and may be seen to allude to the sadness of events of the past and the personal implications of this for Boyd in the present.
'My recent work is about the trajectory of information and how it passes back and forth over time and between cultures. Through the movement of information details and facts associated with historical events and objects are lost. The paintings acknowledge this process and are a remembrance of that loss. They recognize that we will never be able to fully comprehend our past or our future. My use of dots references the idea of the cultural lens and the fact that we all have different points of view'.
Daniel Boyd, 2014
oil, pastel, archival glue on canvas
315.0 x 224.0 cm stretcher
Signature & date
Signed and dated c. verso on canvas, black oil "DANIEL/ BOYD/ 2014".
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bulgari Art Award 2014
© Daniel Boyd
Referenced in 2 publications
Jill Sykes', Look, 'A winner', pg. 16-18, Sydney, May 2014, 16 (colour illus., detail), 17 (colour illus., detail). Artist is photographed creating the artwork in his studio.
Eleonora Triguboff (Editor in Chief), ARTANDAustralia, Sydney, May 2014-Jul 2014, flyleaf, 469 (colour illus., detail). Artist is photographed creating the artwork in his studio.