Rainbows for the NHS

The people's picture. Every picture tells a story. Find out more. #thankyoutogether

‘Rainbows for the NHS’ is a giant interactive ‘mosaic of hope’, made up of thousands of pictures and stories, submitted to the People’s Picture during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can explore the mosaic and the many lives of the NHS, key workers, carers and people from across the country.

The People’s Picture launched the project at London Piccadilly Lights on Monday 22 June 2020 and called out for people to submit their pictures and stories. Landsec and Ocean Outdoor donated the iconic screen as part of their community engagement programme which has continued throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

After collecting thousands of photos and stories, the final artwork has become a giant interactive online mosaic for the 72nd birthday of the NHS and will be extended nationally as multiple artworks in partnership with Landsec. The People’s Picture hopes it will become a historic legacy piece for the NHS.

Previous photo mosaic tributes by British artist Helen Marshall of The People’s Picture have ranged from The Face of WW1 the centenary of the outbreak of World War One and The People’s Monarch celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, to The Face of Suffrage marking the 100th anniversary of British women getting the vote and The People’s Moon giant lunar art across Times Square and the Kennedy Space Centre.

Delve into the stories of thousands of lives at the NHS, key workers and carers and those in lockdown.

As an artist I was really moved by the collective creative response of the nation to the pandemic, and like everybody else I wanted to do something. I particularly wanted the NHS staff, key workers and carers stories to be highlighted. By collecting thousands of photos, videos and stories, I have created one giant interactive rainbow mosaic during my time in lockdown.

Helen Marshall, Founder and Artistic Director from The People’s Picture

This an inclusive and safe way for the nation to connect and thank our NHS, key workers and carers through art. It’s wonderful to have so many images and people represented; each individual story of hope and testament to this important moment in history.

Martin Machray, joint chief nurse for the NHS in London


Featured stories

Person wearing personal protective equipment.“I work for NHS and part of the Medical Emergency Resuscitation intubation Team during the height of the pandemic” – Maxwell, London
Two A&E staff smiling for a selfie“We’re a big family here in A&E. We celebrate and laugh together and we cry together – that’s just part of the magic!” – Aysha, Shrewsbury
Drawn illustration of a NHS worker from Scotland“I am a part time illustrator but full time principal art teacher from Dumfries, Scotland. I’ve drawn 23 rainbow heroes during lockdown and have a full waiting list for others.” – Sheri, Dumfries
Group of NHS staff posing for a photo outside“The Radiographers clapping our last clap at the Nightingale hospital.” – Alexandra, London
Drawn illustration of a nurse wearing a medical face mask“This is one of the five free portraits I have done of NHS Heroes. Christina is a nurse in the Integrated Assessment Centre at Boston Pilgrim Hospital. It’s like an extension of A&E. Thanks Christina and all the NHS and care workers out there, you are all heroes!” – Alan, Wiltshire

Man holding a large cut out rainbow in front of the big screen at Piccadilly Circus

“I’m sadly in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ group as I’ve suffered a Stroke. I was saved by my 6 year old son who called an Ambulance, followed by 3 heart surgeries. My son has been shielding with me for 11 weeks. He is my rainbow and sunshine.“ – Suzy, Greater London © www.gbphotos.com

Two sheep, one with a rainbow sprayed on the side and one with the word NHS“I’m a student young farmer from Penruddock in the Lake District in Cumbria. We lambed 450 ewes this spring, this is one we thought we’d decorate to show our appreciation for the NHS during this difficult time.” – Tamar, Lake District
Drawn illustration of a NHS worker, in full personal protective equipment, stood in front of window“It wasn’t easy. I had a lot of emotional moments behind all this PPE whilst being with our patients & watching them pass away. I’m sure I’ll remember this forever.” – Angeline, London
Baby laid on a mat with a ranbow and the words NHS on his clothes“Gave birth to our daughter during lockdown & had amazing support from all NHS staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.” – Jenna, Blackpool
A couple posing for a photo with a yellow lover hart, within which the word #loveforthelost“My Dad, a hospital volunteer. My Mum, a retired carer. Both sadly lost their lives to Covid19 at the hospital where myself and my Dad worked.” – Nikki, Warrington