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Unfinished Business, Wendy Sharpe, oil on linen, 145 x 170cm, 2020


Unfinished Business, 2020, Oil on Linen, 145 x 170cm.


Where is the little street?

Sydney Jewish Museum. exhibition: Due to lockdown the exhibition will probably never open to visitors.

BEYOND THE CANVAS - ARTIST TALK, Sydney Jewish Museum, FREE Webnar 15th Aug 2021 4pm

Join this online discussion with Arts Editor Elizabeth Fortescue, and artists Wendy Sharpe and Bernard Ollis. The three will speak on the importance of recording history and sharing family stories through art.


Link to Webnar registration


Over a week, from 28th June, Wendy Sharpe filled the temporary exhibition space of the Sydney Jewish Museum with a painted mural (40m), surrounding the viewer with an immersive experience. The mural depicts the artist’s recent journey to the Ukraine, to research part of her Jewish history, looking for traces that remain after her family escaped pogroms around 1900.
The ephemeral nature of the wall paintings portrays a time and place that no longer exists – echoing to the poignant song of the title of the exhibition “Where is the little street?”. Sadly due to the COVID lockdown the exhibition will probably never open to visitors. When the exhibition ends, the mural is painted over and disappears.


My father Alan Sharpe (born Alan Cohen) writer and historian died in 2002. We were very close and it was not until many years later that I could open a box of diaries he'd kept all this life. Among the papers there was a few typed pages by a relative who had written a few lines about everyone in the family. At the end of his paragraph about my Grandmother Bessie (who died in London before I was born), he spoke of a song she used to sing in Yiddish and Russian "Vu iz dos Gesele (Where is the Little Street)?
Listening to a version of it sung by the Barry sisters made me cry. I felt like I was reaching across time to my grandmother.
It is such a simple and powerful song of dispossession and what it is like to be a refugee. It resonates with the people I drew during my portrait project of refugees and asylum seekers , just substitute synagogue for temple , mosque , church etc and it applies to everyone who has had to leave their home to escape violence or persecution.
Wendy Sharpe



Magda Szubanski - Comedy and Tragedy. 2020, Oil on Linen 182 x 145cm


Magda Szubanski - Comedy and Tragedy, 2020, Oil on Linen, 182 x 145cm.


Wendy Sharpe - Archibald Finalist 2020

The Archibald Prize 2020 exhibition is currently touring: NB. Due to public health orders galleries may be closed. Please check the respective gallery website for current information.
January 2021 – 7 March 2021 Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre
19 March 2021 – 2 May 2021 Cairns Art Gallery
14 May 2021 – 27 June 2021 Griffith Regional Art Gallery
9 July 2021 – 22 August 2021 Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery
3 September 2021 – 17 October 2021 Shoalhaven Regional Gallery
29 October 2021 – 9 January 2022 Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of the Lewers Bequest.

“I have always admired Magda Szubanski, her humour, intelligence, activism and compassion. I loved her autobiography Reckoning. I am never interested in simply painting a likeness and thought it would be a cliché to paint her as her comic character/Alter Ego, Sharon Strzelecki.

After an intense conversation with Magda in my Sydney studio, Magda told me of her favourite painting by 19th century Polish artist, Jan Matejko of a famous 16th century court jester. He sits looking devastated having just received terrible news about the war raging at the time, yet he still has to go on and perform as though nothing has happened. I realised I would paint Magda as Sharon, but show her haunted by her fathers traumatic experiences WW2 in the Polish resistance and current world events. The flaming buildings are like a back drop. Intentionally unclear if they are real or imagined, they also represent all Magda’s recent work raising money for bush fire victims, her work for human rights and many important other causes.

Early in 2020 before travel restrictions, I flew to Melbourne to see Magda. She posed for me in her house in full costume (including wig!) and perfectly took the poignant frozen expression I had in mind."



Magda Szubanski is one of Australia’s most loved and respected actors, writers and activists. In 2017 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to the performing arts and as a campaigner for marriage equality. In addition to her acting work, in October 2015, Magda released her hugely successful first book Reckoning, which has won several major awards including the 2016 ABIA Book of the Year. In 2017 Magda became the unofficial public face of the Marriage Equality debate. In 2018 she was the recipient of the nation’s top free speech honour, the Voltaire Award, given by Australia’s oldest human rights organization, Liberty Victoria. Over the years Magda has campaigned for several charities including Very Special Kids, Starlight Foundation, Oxfam and Royal Children’s Hospital. In 2019 she was made a member for the Advisory Board of the Australian Institute of Human Rights at UNSW.




Wendy Sharpe 'Dark'


exhibition 'Dark'


Murals form an integral part of this exhibition.


Wendy Sharpe & Steven Cavanagh: DARK

Bathurst Regional Gallery, NSW. Exhibition runs until 24th Oct 2021

Steven Cavanagh and Wendy Sharpe have been friends for a decade. Their work can be viewed as a dialogue between two artists who explore the drama of light and dark within different mediums. Steven, a photographer, and Wendy, an acclaimed painter, respectively observe light with an emotional intensity and a fascination of the visual play of light and dark referred to as Chiaroscuro.

DARK emerged from discussions that led to ruminations on life, what can and can’t be seen providing a psychological space, the void, fear and the unknown. DARK investigates the reciprocity of light, the way light describes a subject and how light is contained and given meaning through the darkness around it.

"We see this use of darkness in our work as a physical and psychological space that speaks to the human condition and the artists' experience.

" Here BRAG will be transformed as a culmination of two exhibitions that become one in this collaboration of individual artistic expression and investigation that extends beyond the frame.

Steven Cavanagh is an artist and curator who has travelled extensively having lived and worked in Perth, London, Sydney and Hill End in a desire to broaden his art practice, career and most importantly life. Steven is now living in Hill End and works within photography, moving image and more recently installation and performance. In addition to the exploration of DARKness, Steven’s work can at times be political with reference to his own experiences and relationship to the natural world. Themes within Steven’s work pertain to the physical and psychological landscape of masculine identity, vulnerability and loss.





Womens Empowerment Mural, Newtown


Women's Empowerment Mural

Corner of Church St and Federation Rd, Newtown, Sydney Painted over 10 days in August 2020, the mural forms part of Sydney’s Inner West Council’s Perfect Match program

As a local resident, Wendy loves that a significant piece of her vast art collection is situated adjacent to a public space so close to where she lives.

The mural features Aunty Jenny Thomsen, Aboriginal elder and activist as well as an array of other stunning images including a thought-provoking quote by Audre Lorde, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

Wendy’s mural portrays women of all ages and ethnicities. She hopes that “women will see themselves in the images, triggering memories from their own lives, their own stories.”


Extract from an article by about the mural by Elise Hawthorne. To read more click the link below.




How Wendy Sharpe created the 100th Perfect Match contemporary street art mural - Courtesy of Nick Langley - Inner West Council, Sydney





Dr Maryanne Coutts and Wendy Sharpe


Dr Maryanne Coutts (left) and Wendy Sharpe joined Rove McManus live on SBS tv.



Life Drawing Live

Premiered on Saturday 4 July 2020 now on SBS ON DEMAND - Documentary

Wendy was teaching and talking about Life Drawing with Dr Maryanne Coutts , Head of Drawing at the National Art School in Sydney". Wendy and Maryanne joined host Rove McManus for a two-hour TV live event 4 July 2020 on SBS. Participants in the studio completed a series of life drawing exercises before attempting to capture a challenging final scene. For those who wished to draw along at home, SBS provided a 'pose camera' streaming the life models live.

The pose camera stream is no longer operative but the show can be viewed on SBS ON DEMAND - Documentary (for full information follow the 'Life Drawing Live' link below)







Dreams in Dark Times

02 May 2020


Wendy Sharpe has been awarded a Copyright Agency Action Fund for Visual Arts Projects. the Project is called "Dreams in Dark Times". Above are a few images from Wendys artist folding book, Corona Diary - featured on Channel 9 TV news 4th May 2020.


The Cultural Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Copyright Agency, which connects users and creators of content by providing copyright licences for text and imagery. Our members commit approximately $2m of copyright revenue every year for vital grants to enhance the profile of Australian creators and to support our dynamic writing, publishing and visual arts sectors.

Detail<em>Hamlin patients and garden</em>Folding Book by Wendy Sharpe

Celebrating Women

Sydney CBD Feb to March 2020 Macquarie’s Space Gallery.


International Women’s Day 2020 exhibition celebrates the women of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, through Wendy's paintings and drawings. This exhibition offered a unique opportunity to experience Wendy's artworks while connecting with the stories of some of the most marginalised women in the world – obstetric fistula survivors.


Sharpe drawing at hamlin fistula in ethiopia


The Hamlin Art Exhibition features over 30 works from Wendy’s recent trip to Ethiopia, where she witnessed firsthand the life-changing work of Dr Catherine Hamlin (pictured below) and her team to restore the health and dignity of fistula sufferers.


Catherine Hamlin with Wendy Sharpe


The Hamlin Art Exhibition will run for two weeks at Macquarie’s Space Gallery in Sydney CBD (details above). 100% of proceeds from artwork sales support Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.



To learn more about this intimate Sydney exhibition visit the exhibition link below.




View or buy artworks online. There are four auction items (auction closes March 13, 2020). Everything else is for purchase at a fixed price.