Hands of Freedom

A city-wide collaboration

Celebrating the Centenary Of University of Leicester and collaborating with the entire city

Hands of Freedom is a city-wide temporary art exhibition created by award winning artist VishalJoshi. The project has collected over 1000 ‘hand portraits’ from communities and residents across Leicestershire, and Joshi has used these to create and inspire new artworks and installations.

Hands and hand-gestures are used across all cultures to express emotions and feelings; sometimes confusion and anger, at other times friendship and hope. For Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, Joshi has painted a series of large 'hand portrait' murals, each one a gesture of freedom, liberty or peace. Some are widely recognised and even have their own emoji's - such as the 'peace' symbol and 'prayer hands'. Others will take more thought and a conversation or two to unpick! See what messages and meanings you can find and let us know your thoughts using #HandsofFreedom.

The artist has used a unique style of layered mark-making to bring playfulness and vibrancy to a blend of realism and abstraction - this really makes the work pop-off the walls! He has used powerful long strokes, and short sharp strokes to play with scale and perspective.
Can you spot the longest paint brush stroke?

Visit the other Hands of Freedom artworks at Leicester Cathedral and University of Leicester.

Key Partnerships

Hands of Freedom has been made possible by a number of key partnerships. It has been commissioned by Attenborough Arts Centre as part of University of Leicester’s Centenary programme running across 2021, and by ArtReach as part of their Liberty UK festival and their Accessible Art for All project which will see 25 toilet spaces across Europe taken over by artists exploring liberty and freedom. It is produced by No Fixed Abode.