Remembering John Fahey

ACU honoured the memory of the late Hon John Fahey AC, GCSG with the unveiling of the ACU Chancellor’s portrait on 2 December at North Sydney Campus.

In addition, the ACU Senate determined that a memorial brass plaque should be installed in the chapel at North Sydney in John’s memory. The chapel will also be renamed ‘John Fahey Memorial Chapel of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom’ in honour of his love of this space, where he often prayed.

John sadly passed away in September 2020 after a battle with leukaemia. His favourite chapel provided ongoing inspiration for the artist who created his portrait.

The commissioned painting was undertaken by renowned artist Shen Jiawei, who is highly regarded for his portraiture and historical works. Due to the Chancellor’s ill health, Shen was unable to paint the portrait in situ. Instead, Shen worked from his impressions from an earlier meeting with the Chancellor as well as from photographs. The initial sketches and composition of the artwork were applied to a prepared canvas in the artist’s studio.

The final portrait was painted posthumously in the small garden in front of the stained-glass windows of the campus chapel, with the artist working from photographs.

“This striking work accurately portrays the late Chancellor’s distinction and compassion, while ensuring his important legacy and connection with ACU,” ACU Art Curator Caroline Field said.

Portrait of John Fahey

Portrait of the late John Fahey AC, GCSG, 2020
Oil on canvas
153cm x 107cm
ACU Art Collection
By Shen Jiawei
Born 1948, China; arr. Australia 1989


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