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)

Hand Painted Weaponry Dishware By Trevor Jackson

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Trevor Jackson‘s ceramic work is deceptively innocent.  Hand painted in blue, hidden behind animals, flowers, and flourishes are deadly weapons.  His work are definitely conversation pieces for an especially hot topic.  While his intentions with the pieces aren’t entirely obvious, the series is clearly political.  Typically utilitarian weapons are presented as garishly decorated and entirely harmless.  Dishware that is often passed down from generation to generation is stylized with politically intense imagery.

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Houses of Worship Built With Weapons And Ammunition

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The stark sculptures of Al Farrow are jolting in their simplicity.  His Reliquaries series of sculptures are houses of worship and reliquaries (a container for holy relics) built from weapons and ammunition.  Stacks of bullets form walls, barrels form steeples, and muzzles form minarets.  Farrow’s artistic commentary on violence in connection with religion is a powerful one.  Using a provocative medium to create loaded imagery (seriously, pun not intended), Farrow’s work easily elicits strong responses from viewers.

Asif Farooq’s Cardboard Guns

Miami based artist Asif Farooq builds highly detailed replicas of guns using only found cardboard, an X-Acto Knife, and glue.  The weapons are build to mimic their real life counterparts in both detail and size.  Farooq constructed 300 of these cardboard replicas in order to create an entire “gun shop”.  The atmosphere of danger that surrounds the weapons is contrasted by the nature of his medium.  His sculpture not only encourage viewers to confront a fear of the weapons but to also contemplate that fear.  Farooq’s work is especially relevant in the midst of recent gun-control debates.