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.

1,000 individual ‘hand portraits’, contributed by the community, are layered and collaged onto four large hand sculptures. These hands have then been overpainted by Vishal in his signature style and installed in Leicester Cathedral from Tuesday 4 May, and another on the Attenborough Building wall of the University of Leicester campus from September.

As well as celebrating the 100th anniversary of University of Leicester during the pandemic, the project will honour the unique and diverse make up of Leicester by representing the identities of those who submit their hand photos and drawings for inclusion.

Visit the Hands of Freedom artworks at Leicester Museum and Gallery, Leicester Cathedral and University of Leicester's Attenborough building.