Installation shot of Raymond Watson's work 'Hands of History'. Assortment of bronze cast hands arrange on a stone plinth.

Hands of History +25

17.04.23 - 30.04.23

Raymond Watson

As part of Agreement 25, the Queen’s University Belfast conference marking the 25th Anniversary of the historic Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, the Naughton Gallery presents Hands of History +25, a sculptural exhibition by Raymond Watson. 

Shortly after the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, Watson persuaded 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. These were later cast in bronze to create Hands of History, a sculptural artwork that captures this momentous and historic event in Irish history. 

The original work includes bronzes of the hands of Gerry Adams, Malachi Curran, David Ervine, John Hume, Gary McMichael, Monica McWilliams, Mo Mowlam, Seán Neeson, and David Trimble. These are now exhibited alongside the cast hands of others who have continued to advance peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. 

Notably, the bronze hands are mounted on bases cut from Mourne Granite; the same material that forms the steps to Parliament Buildings at Stormont, Belfast. The original nine hands were first exhibited in Belfast in 2002, and more recently a wider selection was presented in Agreement: The People’s Process, an exhibition at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, which reflected on 20 years of peace in Northern Ireland.  


Raymond Watson creates public, gallery, and site-specific installation-based work. His work is often made in close contact with local communities and schools, which has seen him develop a variety of community projects both locally and internationally, from the UK and Ireland to New York, France, Spain, Holland, India, and the Basque Country. 

Related Events

17 - 19 APR 2023

This three day conference hosted by Queen's University, Belfast marked the anniversary of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement by offering the opportunity to reflect upon the achievements of the past 25 years and the role of women in peace building, as well as amplifying the voices of the next generation of young leaders and opening a dialogue that considers solutions to issues facing the region over the next 25 years.


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