Multi-award winning artist Wendy Sharpe sketches, draws and paints her most personal work yet.
Inside the Sydney Jewish Museum, as their first artist-in-residence, Wendy draws her grandmother Bessie Cohen for the first time. We hear how Bessie used to sing the Yiddish song Vu iz dos gesele (Where is the little street)? The song is the title of the exhibition and is about looking for a place that no longer exists.
Wendy comes from a family of Psychics, maybe they predicted a long lost
grand-daughter from Sydney’s Northern Beaches would create a homage to the family. A testament to the past, ‘to grasp the ungraspable’.
On the opposite wall to Wendy’s grandmother, there’s a Ukrainian fortress next to a shtetl, the two are separated by a burning upside down house. Wendy’s family settled in England fleeing Ukrainian Pogroms (hate riots). The small Ukrainian town in 1941 became a place of mass Jewish killing, 23,000 in three days.
In 2019 Wendy and her cousin Ruth Fishman toured England and Ukraine to trace their family history. Wendy’s mural reflects more than just her physical journey, it’s her emotional response to uncovering her family history.
Sydney’s COVID lockdown coincided with the public’s only opportunity to see the mural.
Wendy liked the poetic nature of the destruction, mirroring the yiddish song and the work itself becoming a memory. But her desire was to share the mural and engage with the public before it was destroyed.
Major building works at the Museum have seen the mural smashed, cut through and painted over.
Wendy Sharpe: Site Unseen gives us the opportunity to experience Wendy's quirky personality, artistic process and the refugee experience through her intergenerational trauma.
A intimate glimpse into one of Australia's leading artists.
Producer: Judy Menczel
Director/Shooter Producer: Joshua Marks
Editor: Karly Marks
Composer: Sam Weiss
Photographer: John Deerfield