The Elocwean Rainbow draws inspiration from a vibrant chapter of Melbourne history. It pays homage to E.W. Cole’s Book Arcade, a landmark in Victorian-era Melbourne. Cole believed that books had the potential to change the world, and was deeply interested in the fate of humankind. He famously painted an 8-colour rainbow on the facade of his Arcade. For Cole, the rainbow was a symbol of peace, harmony and diversity.
The glass canopy of Howey Lane was commissioned by Cole to cover the laneway adjacent to the toy department of Coles Arcade. The Elocwean Rainbow will transform this canopy into a vibrant kaleidoscope using high quality coloured vinyl film.
The project will be realised in 2018 to coincide with the 10 year anniversary of Melbourne’s declaration as UNESCO City of Literature, a timely homage to Cole and his promotion of literature and literacy in Australia.
The Elocwean Rainbow was recently awarded the 2017 Melbourne Prize Public Art Design Concept Award. This acknowledgment has generated interest in the proposed artwork. There is significant support from property managers, business owners and Cole’s descendants in realising the proposed work insitu.
The Elocwean Rainbow has huge social impact and commercial potential. It will draw attention and clientele to the surrounding retail precinct. It will act as a photogenic backdrop for tourists, locals and the commercial interests of Howey Place traders. Its symbolism will unite historic Melbourne with present-day community dialogue around the issue of marriage equality.
Instantly iconic, The Elocwean Rainbow will act as a colourful beacon in the centre of the city. The artwork will delight a diverse public audience in much the same way as visitors to Cole’s Arcade were once similarly enthralled.
Donations will be used to assist with the production and fabrication of the artwork. An initial timeline suggests that the installation and launch of the project would be ideally timed for September 2018.
Alongside the artwork, commemorative signage will be installed insitu to alert the general public to the legacy of Cole. A scanable QR code and web link will guide the public to a project website where further images and information about the Book Arcade and Cole’s legacy can be discovered.
The artwork will be installed for a period of approximately two years after which its capacity to be realised as a permanent feature will be considered.
Anyone interested in the story behind the artwork, and developments to realise funding and other logistical elements of this project, can follow progress on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theelocweanrainbow/.