Viral sheep art reaches people across Australia

Kaniva's unique sheep art has become an internet sensation, with people across the country learning about the artwork.

Kaniva & District Progress Association secretary Helen Hobbs said: "We've been blown away with the amount of interest shown in this round of sheep art."

The group's first sheep art album on social media was uploaded in 2012 and received three comments and 10 shares.

Fast forward seven years, and an album featuring a collection of photos from the 'Cut Out' and workshops has received 184 shares, 30,000 worth of visitors within 48 hours and just over 1000 likes.

Mrs Hobbs said ABC Landline had also picked up the story, creating a further 259 shares.

There's been a growing interest in Australian art, largely thanks to silo art, which has made the country a giant canvas.

The new sheep art trail is part of the progress group's strategy to link the town's planned silo art with the newly developed Kaniva Fauna and Wetlands Park.

Mrs Hobbs said the colourful new sheep have had a "transformative effect" on the town.

"There was a time where we had a growing amount of empty shop windows which were filled with displays, but now, thanks to sheep art, people are seeing the tourism potential in the town," Mrs Hobbs said.

"We've also had people move to town to be part of a small community, and sheep art has been a part of that story, too.

"People look at the sheep and see that this is a town that cares - they want to be part of the positivity and the vibrancy that the sheep art talks about."

Each sheep tells a story of a community group or place with QR codes linking to the various groups and places.

"We've just uploaded a brand new shareable gallery with each sheep having a name and profile, so you can now meet 'Pearl' who's looking very glam with her purple rinse and painted nails and just loves rolling a few rocks at Kaniva Bowls Club," Mrs Hobbs said.

It's been an amazing experience for the town, with the streets teeming with people taking photos of the new artwork.

"We also get a lot of international tourists and people who are doing the trip around Australia, so I often see our being sheep shared far and wide by those people using hashtags on their social media feeds," Mrs Hobbs said.

Kaniva was built on the sheep's back and now with high sheep prices, the town's youth have a renewed confidence in the agricultural and livestock industries, resulting in families wanting to stay in the area.

The success of the sheep art has been largely due to the project being created and funded entirely by the local community.

"It's involved around 200 people all up, and all the sheep have been painted by locals from eight to 80. It's just been about people willing to pick up a brush and have a go," Mrs Hobbs said.