Julian Meagher’s subject is 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 Hakeem al-Araibi when the Bahraini refugee footballer was arrested in Thailand,’ says Meagher.
‘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, though he is 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.’