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Northern Ireland is home to a lot of people, some who have achieved absolutely amazing things and we are a city that supports each other, we take pride in the success of our own, as well as those that have moved to the city and fell in love with the culture.

 

Interviewing the people of Belfast, uncovering the gems, the culture and discovering the essence of our city and to really celebrate just how far we have come together and define the direction that the city is moving in.

 

I talked to Danni Simpson, an Australia born artist that now calls Belfast home after falling in love with the city during a visit as you will learn, I will begin with the question to her as I will do everyone in the ‘Our Belfast’ series: 

 

 

If You Had One Day Left in Belfast: What would you do?

Danni enthusiastically began with “it has to be what I wanted to do when I first got here” . Immerse yourself in “everything that is typical Belfast” said the Australian native who now calls Belfast home. In Danni’s eyes, that is “getting a pint, getting something that is typical Northern Irish food” – heading to the Cathedral Quarter is definitely something she would recommend.

 

Where To Go In The Cathedral Quarter

  • Duke of York 
  • Dark Horse
  • Harp Bar

 

“The Harp bar was the first mural I scored when I got here from Australia”

It is out the back of the Harp Bar if you wanted to check it out, along with the other 3 murals she ended up doing for them. Belfast’s street art scene is absolutely incredible and Danni’s contribution to our colourful and exuberant Cathedral Quarter is just breath taking.

 

The talented Aussie reflected on her coming to Belfast “my mum is actually from Belfast” she knew more than most about the city before coming, explaining that “my granny took my mum and her brother to Australia during the troubles back in 72”

 

Without a full knowledge of the city, Danni explains that Belfast is just one of those places “ you don’t know until you land and soak it all in”.

 

She speaks of a holiday she had at 19 as a tourist to visit family and then returning at 25 and being in awe of the city, “Belfast had just completely changed” she expressed. Belfast really is changing at a colossal rate, the example here of Danni’s granny emigrating in ‘72 and then her opting to return decades later shows the dramatic rebirth of the city. Is this bit okay now? Or would you like it out altogether.

 

Danni explains that she “got completely soaked in by the murals” and the street art scene at this time in Belfast was beginning to boom. Her recollection of moving here is a credit to the people of Belfast “the people were so kind”, “always going out of their way to welcome” 

 

Danni thinks that the way she was greeted and accepted that it says a lot about the people of Belfast, following with “they always want you to have a great time”. 

 

Council commissioned the street artist for 5 pieces on electrical boxes in the Linen Quarter – a briefing she said was “for something typical Northern Irish, colourful, playful and engaging”. Danni went about researching Belfast slang and combining her findings with floral pops of colour to dress the once bleak parts of the city. You can scan the QR code if you stumble across these and see it in 3D.

 

A lot of the people that we interview for this series are asked to reflect on their experiences and the past – growing up in the troubles. With Danni’s unique perspective in that she came here as an adult and decided to stay, I posed the question:  ‘What made you want to stay?

 

“It was the people, honestly it was the people that made me want to stay”

 

With much the same opinion that the long standing residents have, Danni proclaimed her love for our “colourful city, full of history”

 

The art scene in Belfast has political roots, Danni said that she was “lucky in a way”, that now is the time that “colourful murals, that are bright and positive” are being displayed on the streets and she is  to be involved with the movement.. Bringing hope and to smile to residents and tourists alike from the iconic yet bleak murals that reflect a dark past. 

 

Danni has left a “fresh perspective” since coming to Belfast, shedding a much needed light on a new era, the new Belfast. You can see Danni’s work across Belfast, one of which she describes as “the never ending mural”.

 

“I’ve never ever thought of going to Belfast because I didn’t know what it was like” a comment from one of her friends back in Australia. Danny is somewhat of a spokesperson for Belfast, venting off the numerous highlights of the city, “the bars, the cafes, the landscapes of the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge”. Come and experience “the really unique side of this part of the world and what it has to offer” is what the Australian native urges people to do.

 

My journey, people have been able to see why I have stayed here, because it is unique. 

 

What excites you for the future?

With a colouring book that she has created with all things Northern Irish “showcasing all the unique things that make this palace what it is”, Danni has said that she hopes for more work that allows her to express her creative side more and travel to other cities with her work.

 

North Street Art Festival in Belfast back in 2021  saw “world class, international artists” erecting 50 new pieces of art that we are blessed with on our streets. Belfast is a lucky city, not just the luck of the Irish, but with the Council on board and commissioning artwork to brighten up the city as well as minimising graffiti, Danni thinks that “It’s going to continue to grow” and I would have to agree with the jet setting artist on this.

 

As someone who grew up in the city, I have to say thank you to Danni, for being a light of life in the city and bringing in the new Belfast – the era of bright, positive murals that we are so lucky to have,  as we continue to distance ourselves from the dark days and strive for a better Belfast. If you are visiting Belfast, I hope that this was an insight into our city and if you are looking for somewhere to stay – we have the best serviced apartments Belfast has to offer.