Guy Maestri and Julian Meagher: Finalists of the 2021 Wynne and Archibald Prizes

28 May 2021

Congratulations to Guy Maestri and Julian Meagher, on being finalists for this year’s Wynne and Archibald Prizes!

“This is a memory painting. Becoming a parent has made me reflect on my own childhood, and also consider the world we will leave to our kids. For a child growing up near a river, a flood is one of those markers in time. Your childhood timeline is punctuated with memories of these exciting and awe-inspiring spectacles. Floods were a natural cyclical event. Unfortunately, floods now seem more about climate change than spectacle, and I am forced to think about how these current and future ‘weather events’ will punctuate my own child’s memories, and the weather we will bequeath to our kids.” – Maestri on his finalist painting, The flood.

Artwork: Guy Maestri, ‘The flood’, 2021, oil on linen, 198.5 x 244 cm; photo by Art Gallery of New South Wales, Mim Stirling

In Meagher’s portrait, Fozzy, he features the retired soccer player Craig Foster AM. “I met Fozz a few years ago through a friend at Amnesty International, when he was starting the #GameOver campaign to end offshore refugee detention. Everyone knows him as a sports commentator and former captain of the Socceroos; he’s also recognised for his successful effort to free Bahraini refugee and footballer Hakeem al-Araibi” says the artist.

“Fozz told me it was during the process of securing Hakeem’s safety in Australia that he realised he couldn’t stop there. He’s worked tirelessly ever since as an activist for freedom and equality.

“This is the second time I’ve painted him. Fozz volunteers each week around the corner from my studio, and often drops around afterwards. I decided I was going to keep painting him until a portrait was hung in the Archibald, as a kind of reflection of his own repeat efforts.

“Fozz is a fighter – he couldn’t have made it so far in professional sport if he wasn’t – though incredibly soft and caring as well. That’s why I painted him with his eyes closed and his guard down. Even like this, he’s still looking out for everyone.”

Artwork: Julian Meagher, Fozzy, 2021, oil on linen, 56.5 x 46 cm