Hands of History

The Hands of History by Raymond Watson

Hands of History by Raymond Watson

A contemporary Art Exhibition reflecting on 25 years of peace in Northern Ireland

 

Hands of History by Raymond Watson

Hands of History by Raymond Watson

 

 

Shortly after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the artist Raymond Watson managed to persuade the Northern Irish political leaders involved in negotiating the Agreement (some of whom are now deceased) to allow him to take a cast of their hands, which he later cast in bronze to create a unique sculpture entitled Hands of History.

 

Raymond‘s Hands of History is an important, significant and truly unique artwork that captures a momentous and historic event in Irish history. 

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, coming in April 2023, Raymond has been casting the hands of a range of people from across the communities who have helped build the peace over the last twenty five years.

 

The Good Friday / Belfast Agreement was signed on Friday 10th April, 1998

The Referendum was held across the Island of Ireland on Friday 22nd May 1998

David Trimble and Seamus Mallon were designated First Minister and Deputy First Minister on Wednesday 1st July 1998

The NI Executive took power on Thursday 2nd December 1999

25th Anniversary of Good Friday Agreement: Monday 10th April, 2023

 

 
Raymond Watson casting the hand of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern

 

Hands cast for original Good Friday Agreement sculpture in 2000 included those of:


Gerry Adams: President of Sinn Féin
Malachi Curran: Leader of the Labour Party of Northern Ireland
David Ervine: Leader of the Progressive Unionist Party
John Hume: Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
Gary McMichael: Leader of the Ulster Democratic Party
Monica McWilliams: Co-Founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition
Mo Mowlam: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (UK Government)
Seán Neeson: Leader of the Alliance Party
David Trimble: First Minister of the NI Assembly and Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party

The artist has now cast the hands of additional politicians and key people involved in the Northern Ireland peace process, including:

Bertie Ahern: Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Irish Government and Leader of Fianna Fáil
John Alderdice: Speaker of NI Assembly and Leader of the Alliance Party
David Andrews: Minister for Foreign Affairs of Irish Government
Tony Blair: Prime Minister of UK Government
Denis Bradley: Co-chairman of Consultative Group on the Past and Vice Chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board
Rev Robin Eames: Co-chairman of Consultative Group on the Past and Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
Rev Harold Good: Member of Decommissioning Body
Gerry Kelly: Member of the NI Assembly and Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Policing and Justice
Naomi Long: Leader of the Alliance Party
Seamus Mallon: Deputy First Minister of NI Assembly and Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
Bernie McGuinness: Widow of Deputy First Minister of the NI Assembly and Leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness
Malcolm McKibbin: Head of NI Civil Service
Sen. George Mitchell: US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland and Chair of NI Peace Negotiations
Mike Nesbitt: Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
Liz O’Donnell: Minister of State for Department of Foreign Affairs of the Irish Government
Nuala O’Loan: Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
Ian Paisley Junior: Member of UK Parliament and son of Reverend Ian Paisley
Chris Patten: Chair of Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland
Jonathan Powell: Downing Street Chief of Staff for Tony Blair
Peter Robinson: First Minister of NI Assembly and Leader of Democratic Unionist Party

 

The Hands of History was shown, alongside video and installation works as part of "Agreement: The People's Process" 

"Agreement : The People's Process" was initiated by The Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool.

 

 The Keys installation by Raymond Watson

The Keys installation by Raymond Watson

 

 

 

 The Grappling Hook video by Raymond Watson

The Grappling Hook video by Raymond Watson

 

 

"Agreement: The People’s Process" project was supported by:

Irish Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Patrick Gaul
British Council NI
The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust with funding from the Covenant Fund
Grant Aided by Belfast City Council
The Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool
The ArtisAnn Gallery, Belfast

 

Interview with Raymond Watson
​by Art for Reconciliation project
Institute of Irish Studies
​University of Liverpool

 

 

Interview with Ken Bartley
​by Art for Reconciliation project
Institute of Irish Studies
​University of Liverpool

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