- a statement on children’s rights

An installation of art composed of 2000 unique castings of children’s hands, creating a forceful expression in the public space – which captivates the viewer turning their attention towards the object of the installation:

Focusing on children’s conditions worldwide and appealing to discuss the disastrous consequences of child labour, hunger, prostitution and military service for the adults of the future and thereby the world to come.

The installation is originated from a co-operation between Amnesty International and the Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot in order to draw attention to children’s rights and their prospects of education and development as human beings. And to set the agenda for a debate concerning what we do as a society, when these rights and prospects grossly are neglected and the children’s potential and human qualities is being exploited when they are doing hard labour, military service, and prostitution or are being stunted because of physical and mental violence or simple lack of care.

Unique hands

Our hands are an indispensable part of our body language and are capable of endless varieties of expression. We can use our hands to communicate in social relationships, work with, shape and change the conditions around us.

In this installation of art these possibilities are brought to a standstill as the hands appears as petrified or frozen.

Each hand will be unique and point out the individidual life that is being maltreated or extended. The children are reaching out their hands through the surface of earth and appear in the middle of our world. The question is, if we are willing to reach our hands towards them.

Concrete plates carrying alarming messages

Concrete plates describing the beautiful qualities of children and their unspoiled human characteristics attend the hands - but the plates also tell about the outrageous encroachments on these values committed against children all over the world.

From children to children about children

Above 2000 children, their teachers from 25 schools and other volunteers from Amnesty International and the workshop of Jens Galschiot has taken part in the creation of the installation, which was exhibited for the first time in Denmark at the town hall square in Odense - November 2000.

It is the school children that made castings of their own hands – in that way they actively contributed. Parallel the schools arranged special classes where the topic was children’s rights and conditions – with introductions from Amnesty International amongst others.

In this way the children have been in the centre of the installation all the way –

as sender, as the final recipient and of course the all-important subject.

Is it our concern?

In the European countries, e.g. Denmark, we experience great difficulties healing the wounds of the children who have been exposed to violence or maltreatment of any sort, and that is in spite of the great resources at our disposal. The difficulties we have treating these children in a country of high standards and with huge social resources might give a straw in the wind about how great problems many countries from the third world are facing. Healthy children are the basis of a sound future, and if the raw material is abused or destructed, we will be facing an evil circle of powerlessness. Children with traumatic experience of violence and sexual abuse and street children who are drug addicts or prostitutes are not prepared to create a well-functioned society.

European countries is already alarmingly forced to take a position to the many human beings, who are fleeing from unreasonable conditions in their homelands and seeking shelter here. Unless we have in mind to build up walls around Europe and shut the problems outside the gate, we are facing a global responsibility to help. Often the problems are overwhelming to the countries in question and the visions of the future obscure or not even there. It is therefore necessary to think globally and to take care of a sound and democratic development all over the world.

The Third World

It is of highly current interest for the third world to adopt ‘Hands of Stone’ in the regional work and discussion related to children’s conditions and human rights.

The major part of the effort and the most vital work changing these outrageous conditions has to be done in the local area, where the problems are visible to anyone.

We very much encourage to take up the discussion about these complex of problems in the parts of the world where it is obvious that children’s rights are neglected – for example by using the ‘Hands of Stone’ as the eye-catching devise to draw attention to the serious matter regarding the children of your society.

In your regional area – as well as national and worldwide – there will always be people with a certain extent of power who wants to take commercial advantage of whatever they can including human beings.

To stop this evil circle of exploitation of our fundamental values and fellow human beings it is most important that each individual take their personal responsibility for human rights very serious – and what is more likely to start with affairs that already have your attention – for example matters in your own life.

We cannot any longer just watch the world going by, only taking care of our own safety and welfare.

‘Hands of Stone’ – around the world

Because ‘Hands of Stone’ are setting focus on children’s conditions in all of the worlds countries it would be just natural if the hands travelled around the world speaking their cause in ‘their own language’.

Therefore this is an invitation to pick up the thread and use the hands as a visual expression of your work for children’s rights and conditions.

NGO’s, public institutions and as well local associations as worldwide organisations or private initiatives working non-profit for the cause of human rights are welcome to borrow parts or the whole of the installation for exhibitions, happenings or whatever ideas you may have. Only restriction is that there have to be a leitmotif to the original purpose - to put focus on children’s rights and conditions.

We do not lend out to commercial enterprises.

All fees due to transportation are to be paid for by the borrower – beside that it is free of charge.

Contact and information

If you are interested in any matter concerning Hands of Stone, please take contact to Jens Galschiot or Lill Ewald, from Amnesty International, on the addresses shown below.

You are always welcome to ask for our advice regarding the symbolism of the hands or any practical issues.

Jens Galschiot Amnesty International
Banevaenget 22 Vesterbro 23
5270 Odense N 5000 Odense C
tel.: + 45 66 18 40 58 tel.: + 45 66 13 08 78
fax.: + 45 66 18 41 58 or

e-mail: aidoh@aidoh.dk
www.aidoh.dk tel.: + 45 66 13 37 27

On www.aidoh.dk there is a special site with information and photos working with and the exhibition of ‘Hands of Stone’ and lots of other material regarding Jens Galschiots work and Artist In Defence Of Human Rights.

On www.amnesty.org you can read or seek information about the work of Amnesty International and descriptions of the conditions of human rights issues all over the world.

Thanks to the sponsor

We would like to express our thanks to the sponsors who delivered all the materials and have been taking care of transportation.

Without them this project would not have been carried out as we all work non-profit.

The sponsors are :






Some technical information

Each hand is 30-40 cm. high and weighs approx. 1,5 kilo.

They vary in the colour from white/light grey to almost black.

They are casted in concrete.

The hands are mounted on a wooden plinth, which is 16 mm. thick and measures 18,5x18,5 cm. It is assembled with silicone – so if a hand and a plinth should come apart they can be reassembled with silicone if the surfaces on both hand and plinth are cleansed first.

The hands are stacked in approx. 225 cm. heights on EUR-pallets (80x120 cm.).

It requires a 20-foot container (a special for pallets at best) and a large truck to transport all the hands and plates at the same time.

It requires at least one manual trolley for pallets or a forklift to handle the hands on receipt and when arranging them etc.

To the Hands of Stone index page  |  Photos Showing the Process of making Hands of Stone

Level Up

2000: Hands of Stone
Additional Information:
Categories: 2000: Hands of Stone | Happenings and Art Installations
Sculptures: Hands of Stone
Type: Concepts
Dates: November 2000
Locations: Aalborg, Denmark | Aarhus, Denmark | Copenhagen, Denmark | Nakskov, Denmark | Odense, Denmark | Roskilde, Denmark | Silkeborg, Denmark | Malmö, Sweden
Co-operators and Helpers: Elementary schools in Odense | Gymnasiums in Odense | Hjemmeværnet
Partners: Amnesty International
Sponsors: Densit A/S | Dentaurum | DeTrey Dentsply AG, Schweiz | Elstrøm Dental A/S | GC | Heraeus Kulzer | I.M. Nielsen & Odense Tømmergård | Jensen Tæpper & Gardiner | JF Emballage ApS | Leman International System Transport A/S | Odense Kommune | Rambøll Jubilæumsfonden | Skanska