A vibrant rainbow artwork has today appeared in Soho Square to welcome Londoners out of the latest stage of lockdown restrictions.
London-based local artist Graham McLoughlin conceived and created #OHelloSunshine, the giant tubular rainbow monument now situated in central London, to bring a smile to the faces of Londoners and in recognition of the vibrancy and history of the neighbourhood. The rainbow design honours Soho’s reputation as the heart of London’s LGBTQ+ community, and where annual Pride celebrations take place.
Standing over two metres high, the artwork represents the universal values of hope and freedom through the colourful reimagining of the rainbow. As the rainbow motif has taken on a new significance over the past year of the pandemic, becoming a sign of gratitude and solidarity with the NHS and key workers, the monument is particularly timely as lockdown restrictions begin to ease and warm spring weather is on the way.
Artist Graham McLoughlin hopes to create a wider positive impact with the inclusive installation, as the work can be appreciated safely in the open air setting and allows for social distancing between viewers and passers by. A VR filter created specially for Instagram also enables users to place a digital version of the artwork in their photos, in recognition of those not yet able to travel to London to view the work.
Graham McLoughlin’s work, also known as GREYGREY, became widely recognised following his #HeartsOfLondon art installation in 2015, comprising 14 heart shaped cycle stands across London to celebrate British design and promote cycling in the city. The optimistic project has since visited Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Milan and Sydney, generating over one million interactions via Instagram.
Artist Graham McLoughlin says: “My intention in creating #OHelloSunshine is to provide a beacon of positivity that everyone can relate to at the moment. The rainbow motif visually represents pride, equality, tolerance, freedom, respect and love – values which have never been more important as we come out of the last year of the pandemic. Soho is the perfect home for the artwork in the heart of London, and the historic centre of the LGBTQ+ community, allowing Londoners and visitors to enjoy the monument in the open air as the city slowly comes back to life after lockdown.”
A number of local Soho-based brands have generously lent their patronage to the installation of the inclusive artwork, including private members club Soho House and London-based fashion brand COS.
Nick Jones, founder of Soho House, commented: “The LGBTQ+ community has always been integral to Soho House, and makes up a large part of our membership and our team. We’re very pleased to be supporting this sculpture in the heart of Soho, where it all began for us more than 25 years ago.”