We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Sydney New South Wales Australia
    Cultural origin
    Gangalu/Kudjala/Wakka Wakka/Gubbi Gubbi, North-east region; Kuku Yalanji, East Cape region; Wangerriburra/Bandjalung, South-east region; Ni-Vanuatu heritage
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    183.5 x 121.5 cm stretcher
    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Dr Clinton Ng 2012
    Naala Nura, ground level, Grand Courts
    Accession number
    © Daniel Boyd

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Daniel Boyd

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Daniel Boyd comments on the nature of Australian history through his series of portraits of colonial ‘heroes’, with Sir Joseph Banks depicted here upon his return from the Endeavour voyage. At first glance these portraits appear to be tributes to the status and achievements of the subjects, but closer inspection exposes the roles they played in subjugating Aboriginal people and taking part in acts of piracy. In titling this work Sir No Beard Boyd recalls the infamous pirate Blackbeard, while referencing the time of Cook’s landing when local Aboriginal people presumed Cook and his crew were women due to their lack of facial hair.

    Banks is surrounded by the objects he collected. Most confronting among these is a specimen jar containing the head of an Aboriginal man. This self-portrait of Boyd chillingly refers to the practice of beheading Aboriginal resistance fighters and preserving their heads in jars, either as trophies or for supposed ‘scientific’ research, as was done to the Sydney resistence fighter Pemulwuy.

    Cara Pinchbeck, Our Lands, 2017

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

    • Djon Mundine, Art & Australia, 'Whisper in my mask: the art of Daniel Boyd', pg. 636-643, Sydney, May 2013-Jul 2013, 639. general reference to the 'No Beard' series

    • Dan Rule, Bergit Arends, Jarrod Rawlins, Djon Mundine and Daniel Boyd, Daniel Boyd: The law of closure, Melbourne, 2015, 194 (colour illus.). cat.no. 06

    • Jill Sykes, Look, 'A winner', pg. 16-18, Sydney, May 2014, 17, 18 (colour illus.).

Other works by Daniel Boyd

See all 11 works