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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Surry Hills Is Now Home to a Three-Storey Mural of AFL Star Adam Goodes

The mural is, fittingly, located near the home ground of his former team: Sydney Swans.
By Samantha Teague and Sarah Ward
June 12, 2020
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Surry Hills Is Now Home to a Three-Storey Mural of AFL Star Adam Goodes

The mural is, fittingly, located near the home ground of his former team: Sydney Swans.
By Samantha Teague and Sarah Ward
June 12, 2020
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He played 372 matches for the Sydney Swans, kicked 464 goals, won two premierships, earned the code's highest individual honour (the Brownlow Medal) twice and was even anointed Australian of the Year, and now, Adam Goodes has been immortalised in a three-storey mural on a Surry Hills building.

Painted by advertising agency Apparition Media, the towering mural is located on the corner of Foveaux and Crown streets, and diagonally opposite the newly opened Pizza Fritta. It's, fittingly, located in the heartland of Goodes' former footy team and just over a kilometre from its home ground, the SCG.

While, according to The Age, the mural was postponed from February to June because of COVID-19, its appearance now is timely for multiple reasons. Not only does its unveiling coincide with the return of the 2020 AFL season (which kicked off yesterday, June 11), as well as with the end of Reconciliation Week, but it also reflects the current global Black Lives Matter movement.

The latter is, in Australia, predominantly focused on ending the systemic mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by police — and Indigenous Australian deaths in custody — but it has also become a bigger conversation about racism in general.

At the end of Goodes' highly decorated career, he became the target of merciless booing and was verbally attacked by both spectators and high-profile media figures alike — with the Swans player placed under immense scrutiny for celebrating his Indigenous heritage both on and off the field. He ultimately chose not to play for a period, and then eventually retired, due to the resulting toll of his horrific treatment. It's a topic explored in not one but two documentaries that were released last year: The Final Quarter, which received a standing ovation at last year's Sydney Film Festival, and The Australian Dream, which opened the 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival.

The Goodes mural also comes as the racist treatment endured by another high-profile ex-AFL footballer — Collingwood and Melbourne's Héritier Lumumba — has been receiving renewed attention this week. The code's first Brazilian-born player and also a premiership player, Lumumba continues to speak out about prejudice, discrimination and the offensive terms directed his way during his 2005–14 tenure at Collingwood, including about club president Eddie McGuire's comments about Goodes (which are covered in both The Final Quarter and The Australian Dream). Lumumba was also the subject of  2017 documentary, Fair Game, about his experiences.

Sydney's no stranger to politically-leaning murals, with both a scathing commentary on Australia's treatment of asylum seekers popping up in Bondi and an Egg Boy mural hitting the city in 2019. The latter was painted by prolific street artist Scott Marsh, who's also known for his satirising of political figures in large-scale murals. His previous hits include Casino Mike and Tony Loves Tony.

You'll find the new Adam Goodes mural at the corner of Foveaux and Crown streets, Surry Hills. The Australian Dream is currently available to watch on ABC iView.

Published on June 12, 2020 by Samantha Teague

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