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Damien Hirst
Photograph: Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst has made rainbow art for your window using the wings of butterflies


Rainbows have been appearing in the windows of homes across the UK to offer a glimmer of positivity during lockdown. The trend was encouraged by North Somerset Facebook group Chase the Rainbow, which called for followers to ‘create a rainbow picture to display in your window so that children can go rainbow spotting whilst out for walks.’

It’s become so popular that big-name British artists are getting in on the action, including Damien Hirst, who has created ‘Butterfly Rainbow’, a free artwork that people can download and ‘show their appreciation for NHS staff’. 

Like many of Hirst’s well-known ‘mandala’ works, the colours are made up of bands of butterfly wings, though these were created digitally. Hirst said: ‘I wanted to do something to pay tribute to the wonderful work NHS staff are doing in hospitals around the country. The rainbow is a sign of hope and I think it is brilliant that parents and children are creating their own version and putting them up in the windows of their homes.’

While the printable rainbow is free to all, Hirst will also be selling a limited-edition version to raise funds for the NHS. Further details will be released on the artist’s Instagram

Quentin Blake
Illustration: Quentin Blake

If you’re not sold on the butterfly motif, you can always try the rainbow works of Quentin Blake. The illustrator recently put his own colourful spin on the lockdown trend with a set of 10 downloadable e-cards, which can be found on the House of Illustration website. ‘As I know that people have been putting rainbows into their windows to express optimism and solidarity I took the liberty of borrowing them,’ he explained. For Blake’s illustrations, the rainbows double up as a hairstyle, a suitcase, a colourful meal and a bowed reading nook. In his sketchy, whimsical world, you can take the little sign of hope wherever you go.

Want to help out during lockdown? Follow our guide to mutual aid groups across the city.

Find out how a war veteran raised millions of pounds for the NHS in his garden.

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