Hands of History
© By Raymond Watson
This sculpture is an artistic record of the aspirations of those British and Irish political leaders who negotiated the Good Friday Agreement. The Agreement is now and an example to the world – it demonstrates the possibilities of ending conflict with negotiation instead of bullets.
In the mid 1990’s eight Northern Ireland (NI) political parties negotiated with the British and Irish Governments and agreed to implement a new political process based on the text of the Good Friday Agreement. Over a period of more than 18 months I cast the hands of the political leaders who negotiated the document that became the Good Friday Agreement.
Those cast are: David Trimble, Ulster Unionist Party, Gerry Adams Sinn Fein, John Hume Social Democratic Labour Party, Malachy Curran N.I.Labour Party, Monica McWilliams N.I. Womens Coalition, David Irvin Progressive Unionist Party, Gary McMicheal Ulster Democratic Party, Sean Neeson Alliance Party. The British Government is represented by Mo Mowlam the then Secretary of State. I subsequently attached the hands to a large piece of Mourne Granite – here they are mounted on more portable block of Kilkenny Limstone.
The Stone: In ancient times there was a sense of immense power and permanency about a large rough shaped rock. In mythology and in contemporary times ordinary people, chieftains and monarchs touched or sat on a stone to pledge themselves to a better future.
The Context: There are eighteen other sculptures that are normally exhibited with The Hands of History. They critically reflect and recall many of the issues of politics, mythology and history that have impacted on our community and all our lives.
Bronze and Stone