Boyd’s gloriously tongue-in-cheek appropriation of the AIATSIS Aboriginal languages map in Treasure Island 2005 seems particularly relevant with the recent reprobation of Indigenous land in the Northern Territory by the Federal Government, and with the minerals boom that Australia is experiencing, making only a very few people wealthy – and Indigenous people are rarely part of the newly rich.1
With the European nations vying for ‘unoccupied lands’ (‘terra nullius’) the race was on to ﬁnd the fabled ‘Great Southern Land’ and nothing was to stand in the way of obtaining it, not even a complex culture tens of thousands of years old. Intensions to me seemed dishonest and dishonourable, traits I found too similar to modes of operation related to piracy. Being so closely intertwined in the fabric of the British nation, the process of the colonisation of terra nullius allowed me to experiment and explore different subject matter under the blanket of piracy and construct an alternate version of our history.
Introducing elements of piracy such as the parrots and [eye-]patches allowed me to deconstruct the romantic notions that surround the act of our colonisation and reconstruct them from an Aboriginal perspective.
Daniel Boyd, 2006
1. Aboriginal Australia Wall Map. DR Horton, Aboriginal Studies Press, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra 1996.