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Real Life

You are my sunshine! Meet the mum whose murals are brightening lives during lockdown

She's bringing brightness in the darkest of days.

By Mitchell Jordan

Holly Ogden, 31, from Kallaroo, WA, shares her inspiring story with Take 5's Mitchell Jordan:

Car horns beeped with approval as drivers slowed down to admire what I was doing.
"Good work, love," one woman yelled out.
It was the start of the state's first lockdown and I'd used the spare time to finally do more painting.
But I'd found a very different type of canvas.
After posting on a community Facebook page, I'd received offers from those in the area to paint murals outside their homes and in laneways.
I love painting sunflowers (Image: supplied)
I'd chosen sunflowers as my subject.
"They're bright, colourful but best of all, they turn their face to the sun," I told people.
It was a fitting reminder that as much of the world faced uncertainty over this raging pandemic we mustn't give up hope, either.
And my colourful creations soon started turning heads.
"I want one," people told me, inviting me to their local laneway.
Several business owners also got in touch hoping I could liven up their property.
I paid for all the paints myself but soon I started finding Bunnings gift vouchers and bouquets of sunflowers with thank you notes from complete strangers on my doorstep.
Honestly, making money was never my intention. I just wanted to bring the community together.
My son, Kala, loves sunflowers too (Image: supplied)
My three-year-old son, Kala, enjoyed it too.
"Mummy's flowers!" he cried every time we passed one of my paintings.
Soon, people from across the city were hanging out in my suburb wanting selfies with the sunflowers.
So I made a map of the streets with sunflower symbols dotting each location.
Before long, I attracted some die-hard fans.
Fans of my work wanted their own paintings (Image: supplied)
One couple made it their mission to take photos of them kissing in front of every mural I'd painted, which was a huge compliment.
I also painted sunflowers on the bellies of women who wanted something special to mark their pregnancies, while collaborating with some Indigenous artists to paint their native flora and fauna.
But one of my most touching experiences was when I was approached by friends of a woman whose son had recently passed away.
"Would you paint her a mural as a surprise?" they asked.
With my son (Image: supplied)
For me, there was no question.
And when the woman returned to see the transformation outside her home, she was moved to tears.
"It's the most beautiful thing," she choked.
People from all over Australia have since contacted me wanting my work, and while I'd love to add more sunflowers across the country, it's great to know that I found a way of brightening up my town in the dark times.

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