Ellie Hutton was a serving soldier for over eight years and has also been an army spouse for ten years. AFF’s Kenya co-ordinator Dawn Fitzsimmons spoke to Ellie to find out more about her latest creative art project – gathering rainbows from the BATUK community…
Previously Ellie has been involved in the BATUK poppy project in 2018 and she also painted a wall in a community centre, the Prairie Rose Club, in Ralston, Canada.
“I love making art, but I also find great joy in getting others to create,” says Ellie. “I spent a lot of time in Kenya raising money for art materials and volunteering in schools. I was regularly running art lessons in a local school before we were evacuated from Kenya. I was also very honoured to work with three schools for the Mount Kenya Art Competition last year.”
After a suggestion to make a rainbow version of her poppy project, Ellie took on the challenge.
“I thought it was fantastic idea. I invited all BATUK families and serving soldiers to create a rainbow on an artist trading card. We had just been evacuated from Kenya due to COVID-19 and the ‘rainbow’ was all over the UK as a symbol of hope and solidarity,” explains Ellie.
“Daddy, our pets and our belongings were left behind in Kenya. Once back in the UK, my boys and I used to enjoy hunting for rainbows in windows during our daily exercise. It was a comforting part of our day in a very weird and stressful time,” she says.
Ellie has brought together everyone’s contributions and the rainbow project is now finished – just in time as Ellie and her family are about move to Cyprus.
“I’m hoping it goes back to Kenya. I would like it to be displayed somewhere prominent as a reminder of this bizarre and difficult time and the outstanding community spirit of the BATUK families. I would like to thank everyone who took part – there have been some absolutely amazing pieces of art made. There’s definitely a lot of talent hiding amongst the community! I hope everyone enjoyed getting creative,” concludes Ellie.