South African’s Beaded Weaponry Series Addresses International Arms Trade

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Haunting and provocative, “Ghosts” South African artist Ralph Ziman’s recent photography exhibition addresses the international arms trade. The series features 200 beaded gun and ammunition sculptures created by 6 Zimbabwean artisans who were commissioned by Ziman. The sculptures are made from traditional African beads and wire and are replicas of AK-47s and general purpose machine guns (GPMGs). The artists are also the subjects of Ziman’s photographs, alongside some construction workers, and a member of the South African Police Services who just wanted his picture taken. The idea for the project began as a series of murals in Venice that were a response to the international arms trade and Africa. The result is a powerful representation of the intimate relationship between Africa and arms trading.

“In bringing his exhibit to the US, ‘the world’s biggest arms exporter,’ Ziman goes some way to redirecting the one directional flow of the arms trade, inviting viewers to consider the original source of the guns on display.” “Ghosts” features the gun sculptures, installations, and photographs, and is on display from February 8 through March 2 at C.A.V.E. Gallery in Los Angeles. (via hi fructose and okay africa)

Ran Hwang’s Large, Zen-Infused Installations Made of Beads

Brooklyn based SVA grad Ran Hwang makes these huge, flowing sculptures with nothing but beads and pins! The uplifting, spiritual elements involved here work really well with the light, dispersed beads. You can almost see the birds’ wings flapping, and everything seems sort of frozen in time at some climactic, freeing moment. Obviously the Zen influence is deliberate. From the artist’s website: “The process of building large installations are time consuming and repetitive and it requires manual effort which provides a form of self-meditation. I hammer thousands of pins into a wall like a monk who, facing the wall, practices Zen.” I guess patience does pay off. (via)

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