BY: KAROUN CHAHINIAN
One way to fight gun violence is to be a social activist in your community. Another less-conventional way would be to melt down thousands of firearms and use them as artistic tools to contribute to society. It’s a less common route, but who likes following the mainstream anyways?
Artist Pedro Reyes decided to put guns under a positive light by transforming them into weapons of creation rather than destruction.
Guns are created for the sole purpose of harming or killing, so artist Pedro Reyes, a native of Culicán, Mexico, a city known for its high rate of gun violence, decided to put guns under a positive light by transforming them into weapons of creation rather than destruction.
Through his innovative artwork, Reyes emphasizes the importance of perspective by using the failures of modern society as key components in his pieces and then positively reinvents them, which is exactly what he did with the global gun control problem. A few years ago, he melted down weapons collected by the Mexican army and turned them into works of art and musical instruments, and now he is transforming guns into shovels for the purpose of planting trees.
A few years ago, he melted down weapons collected by the Mexican army and turned them into works of art and musical instruments
Reyes felt strongly about this social issue and decided to start a campaign, which encouraged citizens to turn in their guns in exchange for coupons that can be used towards electronics or household appliances. After collecting 1,527 guns for his project, he melted them all down and transformed them into 1,527 shovelheads. The shovels were then distributed to different art institutions and public schools all over the world where the members of the community had to use them to plant trees – 1,527 of them.
1527 shovelheads were created through the project
Communities used the shovels to plant hundreds of trees
“If something is dying, I think there is a chance to make a compost in which this vast catalog of solutions can be mixed in an entirely new way,” Reyes said to BOMB Magazine. “An agent of death can become an agent of life.”
“An agent of death can become an agent of life.”
A number of shovels even made it to the Vancouver Art Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, and the Maison Rouge in Paris.
Anyone can pick up a picket sign and protest in front of a government building, but Reyes’ artwork is powerful enough to raise awareness on the issue, while also sparking solutions that will move society forward, which I think is far more effective than a rhyming slogan.