Major display of children’s rainbows marks the reopening of the V&A

Coinciding with reopening, the V&A today announced its largest ever installation of  children’s artworks as part of a special free display. All Will Be Well: Children’s Rainbows from Lockdown, which invites visitors to revisit this powerful moment in which the image of a rainbow – a long-standing symbol of hope – took on new meaning as a collective expression of support and solidarity. 

These joyful homemade pieces, crafted by children, became an international signal of hope and animated streetscapes around the world from Amsterdam to Australia during lockdown. The installation follows on from a national callout for signs made during the pandemic earlier this year, led jointly with the V&A Museum of Childhood. 

The rainbows have all been created by children living in villages, towns and cities across the United Kingdom and internationally, numbering over 100. Hand-drawn, in a variety of mediums and sizes including paper and textiles, these heartfelt pieces will be organised across a selection of large steel window frames and paired with quotes from their young creators. Set within bright, joyful and uplifting colours and wall-projections, All Will Be Well: Children’s Rainbows from Lockdown aims to bring cheer to museum visitors at an otherwise unsettling time.

The V&A’s display shows how the concept was first conceived by families from the Lombardy region in Italy, accompanied by the phrase ‘Andrà Tutto Bene’, or All Will Be Well, reflecting on a moment a time when formal schooling, playing with friends, visit family, or leaving the house wasn’t possible. Creating a rainbow offered an opportunity to express creativity, to feel part of a powerful collective movement, and particularly for children living in the UK, a chance to show their appreciation for the NHS.

The national callout in May 2020 formed both a key part of the V&A’s Pandemic Objects series: an editorial project compiling and reflecting on objects that have taken on new meaning and purpose during the  coronavirus outbreak, and a key acquisition project for the V&A Museum of Childhood. The artworks express the power and impact of child creativity and will enter the museum’s permanent collection, currently undergoing a major transformation to become a world-leading museum of design and creativity for children and young people.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “Rainbows are a powerful symbol of strength and solidarity and became a source of inspiration for us all through public displays of support for our NHS and key workers. The new All Will Be Well installation is a beautiful tribute which celebrates that incredibly moving moment. As London emerges from lockdown and our city’s cultural institutions start to reopen, people will be able to see how hard they have worked hard to make their spaces Covid-safe. This free exhibition is a fantastic way to welcome visitors back to the V&A and a timely reminder that we will beat this virus in London together.”

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Installation shot 'All Will Be Well, Children's Rainbows From Lockdown' (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London 
 (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London 
 (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London