Sir No Beard
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
oil on canvas
183.5 x 121.5 cm stretcher
Gift of Clinton Ng 2012. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© Daniel Boyd
Shown in 1 exhibition
Our Land, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 21 Jan 2017–18 Jun 2017
Referenced in 3 publications
Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown and Daniel Boyd, Daniel Boyd: The law of closure, Melbourne, 2015, 194 (colour illus.). cat.no. 06
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
Jill Sykes, Look, 'A winner', pg. 16-18, Sydney, May 2014, 17, 18 (colour illus.).