AK-47 To Be Refashioned For Peace Project

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   (2012-07-13 00:00:00)

London: Contemporary artists have joined hands to refashion decommissioned AK-47 rifles into works of art for a peace-building project.

British artist Damien Hirst is one of those involved in the AKA Peace exhibition in London in September.

The project will see 23 artists reinterpreting the assault rifles as a "weapon of peace".

The idea had been conceived by photographer Bran Symondson, following his experience as a soldier in Afghanistan.

"Everyone knows the AK-47 and I thought, wouldn't it be great to take this iconic weapon and turn it into a thing of intrigue and art, rather than one of fear," the BBC quoted Symondson as saying.

"You give a stick to a boy and he'll make it into a gun. There is glamour in war and conflict. I don't think [this project] glamorises [the weapon], I think it gets the message across that it can be used for something else.

"The fact that these AK-47s have been used, that they've come from war zones and now they are decomissioned...there's 24 less AK-47s in the world doing damage," he said.

The exhibition coincides with Peace Day, which will be marked by the Peace One Day Concert at Wembley Arena in London.

It is being curated by artist Jake Chapman , who - along with his brother Dinos - had been nominated in 2003 for the Turner Prize.

"I've tried to get artists to act on other issues and sometimes it's quite complicated to get them to be politically motivated, but this was quite simple," Jake said.

"In some ways people have become apathetic about being vocal about stuff. This project is good because it's within the realms of art and if the art is good it operates well, he added.

He said that acting aesthetically on something, which has pragmatic use, is "quite an interesting twist."

"I think [the artists] were equally convinced that it had a necessary logic.

"It's not that the art has to go begging because it's about Peace One Day, the work should stand on its own," he said.

Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell had worked as war artists in Afghanistan since 2002 and had seen the AK-47 assault rifle used regularly throughout the country and had no hesitation when asked to take part, but admitted that there were challenges involved in refashioning an object with such strong connotations.

Another of the artists who is taking part, Antony Gormley, agreed that a careful interpretation of the weapon was of paramount importance.

Peace Day 2012 will be marked by the Peace One Day Concert, at Wembley Arena in London, which will be headlined by Sir Elton John with James Morrison and 2Cellos recently joining the line up.

The AKA Peace exhibition is due to take place at the 'The Institute of Contemporary Arts' in London in September.

The exhibited works will then be auctioned off with the proceeds of the sale going to the Peace One Day charity.