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Australian art

Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Daniel Boyd is among a group of Aboriginal artists interrogating and interrupting the notion of a grand narrative of Australian history. His work comments on the subjugation of Indigenous people and expose injustices of the past from his viewpoint of the present. In 'Untitled' 2012, Boyd explores his personal inheritance presenting an idyllic scene drawn from a found photograph of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. The island was home to his great, great paternal grandfather before he was brought to Queensland to work as a slave in the sugarcane fields. Many South Sea islanders were brought here to support this industry between 1863 and 1904, under controversial recruitment processes. They worked for little pay and often endured harsh conditions. 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. It may be seen to allude to the sadness of events of the past and the personal hurt of this in the present.




Materials used

oil and archival glue on canvas


162.5 x 256.5 cm stretcher

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors Group 2012


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Daniel Boyd

Works in the collection



Where the work was made
Sydney, Cairns

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Dan Rule, Bergit Arends, Jarrod Rawlins, Djon Mundine and Daniel Boyd, Daniel Boyd: The law of closure, Melbourne, 2015, 36-37 (colour illus.), 187 (illus.). p 75 general reference to Boyd's series of works inspired by blackbirding in Vanuatu and his family's history

Jill Sykes, Look, 'A winner', pg. 16-18, Sydney, May 2014, 18 (colour illus.).