Influenced by children’s art generally (and the work of the artist’s own children, in particular), Rainbow over Mt Eden is a bold and simplified image. A bulbous cloud is contrasted with the arching curve of a rainbow which flows through the black and white form of a crater.
Mount Eden was Hanly’s equivalent of the Biblical Garden of Eden—a place of physical and spiritual growth, of physical pursuits and well-being in a fertile, subtropical setting. His Utopia, hinted at here, was a place of order (but not oppression) and of freedom (but not anarchy)—a place of ‘peace’ and ‘love’.
Beneath the rainbow in this screen print, the sky has turned dark, hinting at the perils facing humanity. While sometimes these hints relate to contemporary, social and political issues, more generally they are rooted in a wider concern for the human condition.
Alongside such idyllic visions as Rainbow over Mount Eden, Bogle noted attention paid, in Hanly’s work, to ‘the obstacles… in the form of racial disharmony, the nuclear threat, social inequity, parental responsibilities, financial hardships and the complexities of personal relationships.’
Bearing those factors in mind, Rainbow over Mount Eden is a moment’s calm during an eventful, if at times stormy, period in the artist’s life and in the broader history of his time.