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Wendy Sharpe The witches

oil on linen

160 x 146.5 cm

The witches from Macbeth are a compelling subject, which I have painted several times during my career, this time for a Bell Shakespeare national touring exhibition‏.

Not wanting to make a clichéd illustration, I re-read the play trying to ignore all the images I had seen before from painting, stage or film. I decided on lurid colour and crazy, magical iconography, like the walking cloud with mad fancy dress. The skull, face and flowers are inspired by a residency in Mexico that coincided with the Day of the Dead festivities. When the painting was shown at Parliament House, amazingly, the nudity shocked the politician Craig Kelly and it became quite controversial.

- Wendy Sharpe, 2016