2022 – The (Unofficial) Year of the Rainbow

Rainbow imagery isn’t just sugary sweet, idealistic icons or images only associated with children. 

Rainbows have been a fascination throughout the ages. Not only are they breathtaking to see, but the appearance of multicoloured rays scattered across the sky — emerging only when there’s enough water within forty to forty-two degrees from the antisolar point of the sun — is a phenomenon that has enthralled many throughout history. 

And did you know, no two people see the exact same rainbow. It all depends on how the light is bent and reflected back to a person. Since rainbows are an optical illusion, you can’t physically touch it or stand directly in its line of light. As you move, they move too. 

Each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the Bushveld—a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

Nelson Mandela

In religion and the spiritual realm, the rainbow represents a number of concepts. It can be the promise of better times to come (Christianity), a symbol of divine patience (Judaism), the seven continents of the Earth (Buddhists), or the four elements (Islam). Greek philosophers were captivated by rainbows and created theories to explain their physical principles and the Romantic poets wrote poems and sonnets about their infinite beauty.

Although unofficially, I would like to propose 2022 to be the year of the RAINBOW.

The symbolic rainbow is now firmly associated with the pandemic that has once again gripped the world. During lockdown over the last two years, paintings and drawings of rainbows showed up in windows and on balconies around the world to convey messages of hope and solidarity to neighbours and frontline healthcare workers. The resurgence of the rainbow icon during the pandemic is a testament to their enduring significance throughout history.

I like to use rainbows in many of my designs – they communicate hope, peace, tolerance, inclusivity, gratitude, environmentalism, and more.