Children's ward mural painted by celebrated illustrator Freya Blackwood

Freya Blackwood

Award winning illustrator gives children at Orange Health Service a lift

Thanks to a generous donation from Woolworths, the Children’s ward at Orange Health Service now has a wonderful new mural by Orange based award winning illustrator Freya Blackwood.
The 6m mural depicts a lively procession of children and animals on their way to the seaside. The cast of characters includes an elephant riding a bike, a sleeping child on the back of a tiger, a little boy tickling a crocodile and a very easy-going roller-skating polar bear. There are many smaller details too which emerge the longer you look, which is perfect for a children’s ward where young ones and their families are often needing a colourful distraction.
The artwork is installed in what was a sterile white walled corridor. Staff at the ward were looking to transform the space which is one of the first areas to greet visitors as they enter the unit.
With assistance from the Orange Health Service Art and Health committee, the search began for an artist who could create something special, so everyone was delighted when Freya Blackwood agreed to create the artwork. The excitement grew as she produced the rough sketches and mock-ups until the final mural was installed.
Lyn Cantwell, Nursing Unit Manager for the children’s ward has been delighted with the outcome. “The mural has brought a much needed splash of colour to the ward and dramatically improved the feeling in the corridor connecting the two sides of the ward. Before it was bland and sterile but now children and staff can enjoy a special artwork that lifts everyone’s spirits. It’s made a big difference.”
With over eleven illustrated children’s books to her name, Freya is known to many in the central west and throughout the world for her heartfelt watercolours and free drawing style. “I love creating characters and giving them emotions and their own small world to live in” she says. Her ability to do this has been recognized internationally. In 2010, Blackwood won the Kate Greenaway Medal in the UK for her illustrations in the children's book Harry & Hopper, which is based on a dog that she had as a child.
The grant from Woolworths has also meant that a second mural by Freya has been be installed in a treatment room to help keep children occupied while they are undergoing medical procedures. This scene depicts the same group of animals and children in the first mural, as they arrive at the seaside and go for a dip.