This film takes you into the mind of artist Wendy Sharpe as she creates Australia's largest mural for Sydney's new swimming centre, Cook and Phillip Park. The mural, made up of seven panels, tells the story of swimming legend Annette Kellerman's extraordinary life.
‘She was someone who was always ahead of her time and avoided all the constraints that were put upon women at the time. She was born in Sydney in 1886, and when she was young she could hardly walk and wore braces, and she used swimming to change her life.’
‘In 1902 she became so fit she started winning races. In 1905 she swam down the Thames and then swam the English Channel in a tiny bathing suite, followed by a long distance swim down the Seine in Paris. Half a million people watched her. She was the only woman and she came third. She had become a champion athlete and in 1907 she was arrested in Boston for wearing a tiny costume. In America she became known as the Australian Mermaid and she became world famous for all the things she did. In 1914 she went to Hollywood and made a series of silent movies exploiting her swimming talents and became very famous as a movie star, and was described as the most beautiful woman in the world and compared with Venus de Milo’
Wendy Sharpe’s work of Annette Kellerman’s life was commissioned by Sydney City Council for the new swimming complex at Cook and Phillip Park in the centre of Sydney and is the largest mural ever painted by an Australian artist. Sharpe has remarkable drawing and painting skills. She is a past Archibald winner and one of Australia’s most respected artists.