Derry's iconic 'divided hands' meet

Derry's iconic 'divided hands' meet

The iconic hands of the Londonderry statue 'Hands Across the Divide' have been united for a fleeting moment as part of a unique art project.

The famous piece in the city's Carlisle Square depicts two figures reaching out, but not quite meeting.

It is a reflection of the divisions in Northern Ireland.

But for a few hours the space dividing the hands disappeared due to a project involving an artist from the Middle East, with the support of the statue's sculptor Maurice Harron.

The two artists were making a mould of the space between the two hands.

"Here's sort of famous for its Troubles in one way, and this represents something about the Troubles," explained Mr Harron, who sculpted the original statue.

"We live in a different place now than we did 25 years ago and to get an artistic symbol that says something about that is interesting to me."

The mould was used to make a transparent sculpture of that poignant space.

"They are about to shake hands - this sums up the general feeling I have being here in Northern Ireland," Khaled Barakeh explained.

"The two sides, are close to meeting, if not embracing, at least recognizing the humanity of each other - but are not quite there yet, they are one city, divided, not only by a river, but by ideologies and pain."

The Syrian artist said he was surprised at the culture of division that still remains in Northern Ireland.

"The double naming of the Derry~Londonderry, the separate housing, schools, taxi companies, are a mimesis of the other, replicas of the same, only in different colours," he continued.

"I wish the future of Derry and here would be better, that that this space will be completely gone one day.

"Maybe one day we will come up with a sculpture and put it in the middle."

The completed artwork will be exhibited in the Imagined Communities exhibition at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast.


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