Julian Meagher speaks about Art, Activism and The Archibald

17 Aug 2021

Julian Meagher, created a portrait of renowned sports commentator, activist and friend, Craig ‘Fozzy’ Foster, earning him the finalist spot for the Archibald Prize.

Fozzy is an advocate for many different human rights issues, ranging from the erasure of First Nations history to climate change. In an effort to help raise awareness of Fozzy’s activism, Meagher had promised to paint Fozzy’s portrait every year until it was shortlisted.

At first, Meagher painted Fozzy on a larger scale, staring directly at the viewer, a powerful piece in both size and intensity. However, on Meagher’s second attempt, he recreated the portrait on a smaller scale, but this time, with Fozzy’s eyes closed.

This artistic choice reflects multitude of meanings – the collective amnesia and silence in Australia grappling at their dark history and present, but also, it speaks a moment of gentleness in a man’s tireless efforts for a better world. Meagher explains, “That’s why I painted him with his eyes closed, and his guard down. Even like this, he’s still looking out for everyone.”

Image courtesy of The Design Files.