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Here comes the sun

21 October 2021

Sunflower murals are popping up across Fremantle thanks to talented artist Holly Ogden. Splashed across shopfronts along the Cappuccino Strip, through the Piazza, down side-streets and all the way to South Fremantle, you’ll spot these sunflowers.

The project started at the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 to help lift people’s spirits by spreading happiness through art.

“I created this project to brush up on my mural skills and it has organically transformed into a movement of happiness,” Holly said.

A growing list of local businesses have jumped on board, including Lawley’s Bakery Café, Kuld Creamery, The Sunshine Harvester Works, Broody Hen Coffee Shop, The Bistrot Café, Sugar Hut, First Rule Café, Three Seventy, Mumma Bee Café with more on a waiting list.

Kindness is at the heart of this project, with Holly painting the murals free of charge.

“All painted sunflowers are free and always will be,” Holly said.

“It allows me to access locations I otherwise wouldn't have had access to and make genuine connections within the community.

“It's all about creating a wave of kindness by not charging, which has opened up more possibilities to paint the murals with cost often a barrier for small businesses.”

There’s plenty more in store for Holly’s Seeded Sunflower mission, with plans to create a sunflower hunt across Fremantle for people to follow.

“I have a graphic artist on board to create a map so people can follow the trail,” she said. “A sunflower will mark the spot and allow families and businesses to come together and spread joy with art.”

Holly’s love of art started from a young age, but it was during her time working as a dive master in Thailand and Indonesia in 2014 that she began to really follow her passion.

“This is where I started to express myself more in my art,” Holly said.

“I painted murals at dive shops and around the place in my spare time to keep me occupied when I was out of the water.

“I just love painting in public, having my headphones in and listening to an audiobook or podcast. I find it therapeutic.”

Fast forward to today and Holly’s sunflower movement has spread far and wide, with over 200 murals popping up across Fremantle, Dunsborough and Margaret River.

It’s an impressive feat for this artist, who finds the time to paint despite a full and busy life.

“I'm a single mum of a 3-year-old, so the majority of my time is dedicated to him,” she said.

“I only have a couple of days spare a week to come and paint walls so I have to use my time wisely.”

In between painting murals and looking after her young son, she’s also busy preparing for her Seeded Sunflower exhibition which will be on display at the Sunshine Harvester Works from 20–21 November.

“I aim for this exhibition to be a showcase of happiness, positivity and sunflowers,” she said.

“This exhibition isn't just about having my art on display, it will be a testament to the relationships I have made along my journey of painting sunflowers throughout WA.”

Published in FRE-OH! magazine - Spring 2021