Rainbow banners “Everything will be alright”
In Italy, the European country that is the most affected by the new coronavirus, people started, shortly after the announcement of the general lockdown (10 March 2020), to create banners with rainbows and this optimistic message: “Andrà tutto bene” (Everything will be alright.) They hang them on their windows and balconies, communicating collectively positive thinking towards a challenging situation. This was also a way to involve the whole family, as many children’s drawings also appear in the designs.
The rainbow is a symbol of better times after the storm. But in Italy, it is also well known as a peace symbol. The rainbow banner, with the word ‘pace’ (peace), was widely displayed on windows during recent war periods, for instance as a protest against the war in Iraq in 2003. The rainbow is also the banner of the LGBT movement. In the peace banner, the cold colours of the rainbow are at the top, whereas in the LGBT banner, it is the other way round. But for coronavirus, the rainbow appears first of all as a symbol of hope, and the depiction of the rainbow has wide artistic freedom.
In a way, the Italian rainbows mirror the Cantonese expression jiayou, meaning “don’t give up”, that could be seen in China where the pandemic first stroke.
The message of “Andrà tutto bene” has spread very quickly across Italy. The slogan is found on other materials too: post-its, simple sheets of paper hanging on shop doors or as a hashtag. Similar to other slogans, for example #iorestoacasa (I stay at home), it is becoming one of the most prominent sequences of words associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
From Italy, the rainbow spread to other countries. For instance, it is becoming very popular in UK, where big rainbow children’s drawings even appeared in the Queen’s television address on 5th April 2020. They bear similar messages of courage and optimism, and also of support for medical staff. In Belgium, several initiatives followed the Italian one, and were amplified on social media. The main slogan has been “Tout ira bien”, or “Alles komt goed” in Dutch, always accompanied by the important message “stay home”.
In Romania, it is “Totul va fi bine” and we can even find this as a logo, with a small rainbow, on donated plastic face masks for doctors in Baia Mare, Romania.
To wrap up, this rainbow design and related slogans are to be found all over Europe. You can help us to document this action on a European level, by sending pictures of these banners and other similar objects from across the continent, with their place and date, to our collections team by clicking here.
Image credit: Protective masks in Romania, The Center for Research and Training of North University, Baia Mare, Romania