For Justine Muller, the late union leader, activist and environmentalist Jack Mundey AO was both her hero and her godfather. ‘He led the Green Bans movement in the 1970s. He saved The Rocks, Centennial Park, bushland on Sydney’s foreshore, Redfern’s The Block, the State Theatre and so much more. He stood up for equality for all,’ she says.
‘On the 10th of May 2020, when Jack passed away, I was fortunate enough to have told him how much I loved him and how he’d inspired me to use my art as a tool for activism.
‘This portrait was done over several years and finished just after Jack passed. I chose to paint Jack onto a recycled canvas, embracing the layered history and peeling paint as a metaphor for the Sydney heritage Jack saved.
‘Jack was a visionary who never lost sight of the beauty or potential in the old and the importance of history. His eyes are painted green as a symbol of his vision for a greener planet. My portrait is in homage to Jack. He may no longer be with us, but his legacy will live on forever.’
Muller was born in Sydney in 1981. This is her first time as an Archibald Prize finalist.