Belfast Telegraph

Good Friday Agreement: Chance to view the hands that made history

Events mark 20 years on from peace agreement

By Claire O'Boyle

As Belfast marks two decades since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the people of the city will get the chance to see the very hands that made history.

An extensive programme of arts and cultural events kicks off next Tuesday - exactly 20 years after the deal was reached.

And major political players of the day, including John Hume, David Trimble, David Ervine, Mo Mowlam, and Monica McWilliams, will be remembered with an exhibition showing casts of their hands taken at the time.

Others added since by artist Raymond Watson for his Hands of History +20 exhibition include senior figures like Lord Alderdice and Seamus Mallon, who have used their influence to promote ongoing peace.

The exhibition will go on display at Riddel's Warehouse on Ann Street ­- a former storeroom for Musgrave Police station at the height of the Troubles - on Tuesday.

The Peace and Beyond Arts Fringe will showcase works by a huge range of local artists, international writers and poets.

Music journalist Stuart Bailie will read excerpts from his new book, Trouble Songs, at Belfast City Hall on April 10. He will share interviews with iconic figures like Dolores O'Riordan, Christy Moore and Bono, as well as musicians from seminal bands The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and modern legends, the Rubberbandits. Stuart said: "I wrote Trouble Songs because I thought music was a tool for opening minds and agitating for better fixes to the conflict.

"It felt like an important story and the last 20 years have allowed us the distance to appreciate this. My faith in musicians remains strong; they played a significant part."

Other highlights include a performance of Kabosh Theatre Company's Green & Blue, a one-hour show based on accounts of RUC and gardai officers who patrolled the border. Performed by James Doran and Vincent Higgins and directed by Paula McFetridge, the play is written by Laurence McKeown, a former member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) who took part in the 1981 Irish hunger strike and is now an author, playwright, and screenwriter.

Poetry Jukebox, the on-street sound installation currently located outside the Crescent Arts Centre, will also come to Riddel's Warehouse.

British Council director, Jonathan Stewart, said: "There is a growing recognition of the contribution of arts and culture to peace-building and alternative narratives, a theme we will be picking up in a number of sessions during the conference, including a visit to the new Troubles and Beyond exhibition in the Ulster Museum."

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