Agreement: The People’s Process

Agreement: The People’s Process

A contemporary art exhibition reflecting on 20 years of peace in Northern Ireland.

Sat 7 December 2019 – Sat 18 January 2020

  • Tuesday - Friday: 11.00 am - 5.00 pm
  • Saturday: 11.00 am - 4.00 pm

Golden Thread gallery 84-94 Great Patrick Street Belfast BT1 2LU

About the Exhibition The Belfast or Good Friday Agreement (GFA), was an important milestone in the Northern Ireland Peace Process. To reflect on the twenty years since it was since, this exhibition examines the role of art as an aid in conflict transformation, reflection and peace-building.

Shortly after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the artist Raymond Watson managed to persuade the politicians involved in negotiating the Agreement (some of whom are now deceased) to allow him to take a cast of their hands 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. The Hands of History includes bronzes of the hands of Gerry Adams, Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair, John Hume, George Mitchell, David Trimble, Mo Mowlam and others who led the peace process, alongside the cast hands of those who continue to advance peace-building, including Monica McWilliams, Peter Robinson and the Rev Harold Good.

This Hands of History centrepiece will be accompanied two new installations that combine genuine and rare historical items with digital technology to produce immersive, thought provoking artworks.

The artefacts include an original prison-made grappling hook, covertly crafted and hidden by prisoners at Long Kesh/Maze prison in the 1970s. This hook was brought to Belfast’s Peace Wall, a 25 foot high structure that divides the two communities, and used as the centrepiece of an audio visual exploration of the struggle to escape both the wall and the sectarianism it represents.

‘Lyrical Agreement’ includes excerpts from the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement read aloud by people of all ages living in Belfast. The voices are both those who lived through conflict, and those who have known more peaceful times.

The memorial quilts to be displayed in the exhibition, remember those, from all walks of life, who were killed during the Troubles. Individual quilt patches contain symbols that are personal to those remembered and commemorated. These patches have been produced by the families of those who died and/or a team of volunteers. ‘Invitation to Observe’, curated by Pauline Hadaway, using photographs by British, Irish, Argentinean, Iraqi and Colombian contributors, presents seven remarkable works that bear witness to and reflect on the experience of conflict and conflict transformation. These photographs create a journey through international conflict resolution from Northern Ireland, Argentina and Columbia. Highlights include Frankie Quinn’s 'Interface Images', LCpl’s Stan Holman’s collection, and Chad Alexander’s 'Entries'. 'Invitation to Observe' is an intimate and emotional journey through the landscape of the city exploring the personal impact of conflict. It includes victims of conflict and a serving officer in the British army.

These artworks will resonate with the people of Belfast, as they reflect the many, varied experiences of those who lived through the Troubles as well as those who have grown up or moved to Northern Ireland during the last twenty years.

This exhibition has been supported by

  • 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

The Agreement: People’s Process project has been supported by

  • Irish Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Patrick Gaul
  • British Council NI

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