Hands Across the Divide
Carlisle Square, Derry, Northern Ireland
Two men stand with their hands outstretched towards each other. They are close to embracing, but not quite close enough. Still, it’s the gesture here that counts. Because in that gesture, in those outstretched hands, is the recognition of the other’s humanity. Sculptor Maurice Harron was born and educated in Derry, a city severely affected by Northern Ireland’s Troubles. But Hands Across the Divide celebrates reconciliation. It was unveiled in 1992, to mark the twentieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972, when a civil rights demonstration on the streets of Derry ended with the shooting dead of thirteen civilians by the British Army. But in that reaching out of hands is hope, and the promise of a new beginning.
There are other arresting statues by Maurice Harron to be seen and explored in other parts of Ireland, statues that address issues of politics, strife, accord and disaccord. There’s the Gaelic Chieftain in the Curlew Mountains and Let the Dance Begin in Strabane.