The subject of Daniel Boyd’s portrait is OneFour, a hip-hop group originally from Mount Druitt in Sydney’s western suburbs. Regarded as pioneers of drill-rap in Australia, OneFour has developed a distinctive sound since forming in 2014, and has gained attention overseas.
Boyd became aware of OneFour when he heard their 2019 single Spot the difference. ‘Listening to OneFour, I was drawn to their energy, then again in 2020 after the death of George Floyd,’ says Boyd. Floyd, an African American man, was murdered by police in Minnesota, US, sparking racial justice protests worldwide.
Boyd sees OneFour as the product of the social inequity, classism, racism and censorship that exists in our society. He believes that their recalcitrant voice is full of complexity and has a role to play in highlighting police brutality, racial profiling and black deaths in custody in Australia.
‘The perpetuation of falsehoods about colonial history and the suppression of truth comes with consequences – trauma takes its toll on mental health. It is the responsibility of the government to address this for the collective growth of this country.’
Boyd is a first-time Archibald finalist. His major solo exhibition, Daniel Boyd: Treasure Island, is presented at the Art Gallery from 4 June 2022 to 29 January 2023.