Daniel Boyd
  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Institute of Modern Art, 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Institute of Modern Art, 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • Daniel Boyd 'Untitled (ILYM)' 2022. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Institute of Modern Art, 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • Daniel Boyd 'Untitled (HTAALMSTALS)' 2023. Courtesy Station, Melbourne. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Institute of Modern Art, 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • Daniel Boyd 'Untitled (FLICSAIBE)' 2023. Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • Daniel Boyd 'Untitled (DR)' 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • Daniel Boyd 'Untitled (MPABT#1)' and 'Untitled (MPABT#2)' 2023. Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • Daniel Boyd 'Untitled (NILYMY) 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Institute of Modern Art, 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • Daniel Boyd 'Untitled (SPSIDKAATYDC) 2023 and 'Untitled (NAIFAG)' 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • Daniel Boyd 'Untitled (WITSOC)' 2023 and 'Untitled (YAPMFYCESYE)' 2023. Photo: Louis Lim.

  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Gropius Bau, Berlin, 2023. Photo: Luca Girardini.

  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Gropius Bau, Berlin, 2023. Photo: Luca Girardini.

  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Gropius Bau, Berlin, 2023. Photo: Luca Girardini.

  • 'Daniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (Version)', Gropius Bau, Berlin, 2023. Photo: Luca Girardini.

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Daniel Boyd

Rainbow Serpent (Version)

09 September–16 December 202309 Sep–16 Dec 2023

#DanielBoyd

Daniel Boyd is known for his multidisciplinary practice that resituates colonial history within an infinitely expansive universe. In his paintings, videos, and installations, he employs dots as a visual and conceptual tool to explore themes of identity, memory, perception, and history. Reiterated endlessly to form expansive constellations, each dot—or lens—offers a distinct point of knowledge, experience, or perspective to view his work.

Rainbow Serpent (Version) is Boyd’s first major exhibition in Meanjin/Brisbane, a place of cultural and ancestral significance for him. Encompassing fifteen new paintings rendered with his signature dots, a sculpture, a mirrored-stage floor, and live activations, it continues his interrogation of Western scientific, artistic, and philosophical thought and its role in establishing the colonial Australian state.

Spanning subjects from classical antiquity to his own family, Boyd’s paintings articulate the visual language of imperial placemaking, particularly as it materialised in Queensland. Arranged in conceptual groups, they contend with the ways colonisation has disrupted cultural tradition and infiltrated our civic imagination. Inspired by the dot pattern in his paintings, Boyd’s mirrored-stage floor illuminates these narratives and engages audiences in their reconstruction. As audiences move through the exhibition, its network of mirrored lenses provide infinite entry points into the histories and stories represented on the walls.

Throughout the exhibition, Indigenous scholars, artists, activists, and community groups will share the gallery space—with performances, discussions, and yarning—in a poetic act of civic and cultural reclamation. By reasserting cultural authority in a colonised environment, this collaborative occupation will serve as a poignant reminder of the resilience of First People, whose 60,000-year cultural traditions remain unbroken, despite ongoing imperial expansion.

Transcending temporal and spatial bounds, Rainbow Serpent (Version) unfolds as a vast universe of embodied experience, designed to unlock new ways of understanding history, place and identity. Through a poetic contemplation of art, culture, science and philosophy, Boyd challenges Eurocentric narratives that have dominated the historical canon and rationalised imperial conquest. Drawing attention to these layered and multifaceted histories, Rainbow Serpent (Version) invites us to reconsider the lenses through which we view the past, present, and future.

Curated By
  • Liz Nowell
Off-Site Venues
Artist Bio
Daniel Boyd

Daniel Boyd draws on his heritage—as a Kudjala, Ghungalu, Wangerriburra, Wakka Wakka, Gubbi Gubbi, Kuku Yalanji, Bundjalung and Yuggera man from North Queensland and North Pentecost Island in Vanuatu—to interrogate legacies of colonisation. He has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 2005. In 2014, he was the first Indigenous Australian to win the prestigious Bulgari Art Award. He has participated in major biennales and exhibitions, including the 2015 Venice Biennale, the 2016 Biennale of Sydney, the 2017 National Indigenous Art Triennial at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and the 2017 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. In 2017, he was in Mondialité, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Asad Raza at the Boghossian Foundation, Brussels. In 2022, his survey exhibition Treasure Island was presented by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

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The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.

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