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BELFAST HANDSHAKE, 2015, Belfast, NI, bronze

“Community engagement – and in particular, engagement between communities – is vitally important.  This art piece is an significant symbol of peace and stretches out the hands of friendship to promote reconciliation.  This fits perfectly with the great work being carried out by local people here, and I offer my congratulations to all involved”.

The project was supported by the ‘Building Peace through the Arts – Re-Imaging Communities’ programme which is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the European Union’s Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III) managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and the International Fund for Ireland.

After several months of detailed consultation with a range of groups it was determined that The Belfast Handshake should be a symbolic legacy of the journey undertaken by the residents, rising from their troubled past to a more peaceful present, recognising the trauma experienced by so many of its residents and how together they must remain vigilant to ensure they maintain the balancing act of peace.

‘The Belfast Handshake is a homage to the future aspirations for continued peace within this community. The courage and efforts of so many in building trust and nurturing engagement has helped secure a positive future for younger generations. The immense contribution this peace building has made will be a lasting legacy for generations.’

This sculpture celebrates the dynamic and diverse culture and identity of many generations of Suffolk and Lenadoon and how they have come together for the greater good. Their journey to peace has its roots in the past but has paved the way to allow all to follow their dreams into a continued peaceful future.

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