Ole Murphy next to his Epsom artwork.

All things Epsom in art work


A young artist’s work was unveiled for the first time on 16th February at The Ashley Centre in Epsom. Created in celebration of all things Epsom, the giant mural by 21-year-old Bristol University student Ole Murphy is being displayed in the Ashley Centre before moving to its permanent home in the pedestrian tunnel on West Hill. The local community and representatives from Epsom Business Improvement District (BID) attended the unveiling along with the artist and his family. The artwork was unveiled outside the shopping centre’s flagship store which later this year will become the largest Primark in the UK outside of London.

The mural strengthens Epsom’s role as Surrey’s leading destination for inspirational artworks. Its bright, bold colours celebrate many elements of Epsom’s history, culture and people. Ole Murphy’s piece aligns beautifully with the graphic design students from the University of the Creative Arts (UCA Epsom), who created vibrant, colourful artworks for Epsom’s outdoor East Street gallery and Ashley Centre windows in 2022, to celebrate the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

A year previously, the town unveiled a statue of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who died after stepping out in front of King George V’s horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby in June 1913. The suffragette flag Davison was carrying when struck by the horse now hangs in the Houses of Parliament, while her statue holds a position of honour in Epsom’s marketplace.

Karen Pengelly, BID Manager for Go Epsom, comments: “We are delighted to be adding Ole Murphy’s vivid and colourful mural to Epsom’s wealth of existing artwork, for enjoyment by all who live in and visit Epsom. Our town has such a rich history and culture, which Ole has captured beautifully in his creative and colourful design. The mural will ensure the West Hill tunnel is bursting with cheer, bringing joy to all those who walk, cycle or drive past.”

Every aspect of Murphy’s mural has been drawn from local life, from well-known elements such as horseracing and the discovery of Epsom Salts to more niche connections to the area.

Artist Ole Murphy comments: “I wanted the mural to represent the past and present of Epsom. Within my piece, I draw attention to the history and life that surrounds the town. Whilst Epsom is rich in historic events, I wanted to pay homage to current issues. I reference this in the sprinkling of music from the hands and the silhouetted figures that are walking down a runway. The figures represent the old and the new; their silhouettes are traditional but the red runway they are walking in foreshadows modernity in creative degrees at the university. Most importantly, I wanted my mural to be vibrant and light up the tunnel. I hope its colours run joyfully through the spirits of those who stop to observe it.”

Epsom has a long history of investing in the arts – as well as a bright future. UCA Epsom announced in 2023 that it had obtained planning permission to turn two former office buildings into exciting new places for students and staff. The campus expansion speaks to how valued the role of art is in Epsom life and how intrinsically it is linked with the town’s past, present and future.

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