23 Artists Turn AK-47s into Art Objects

Amnesty International award-winning photographer, Bran Symondson, brought together 23 artists for AKA Peace, a project tasking creatives to re-imagine fully decommissioned AK-47 assault rifles as art objects. Symondson describes the genesis of the project:

While serving in Afghanistan and also returning as a photographer for the Sunday Times Magazine, I used to see how the Afghan National Police (ANP) would sometimes adorn their AK47s with either colourful stickers, roses, or glitter tape. That’s where the seed was planted for the project. Then one day, I was taking cover from incoming AK47 fire in a ditch while a young ANP lad sat next to me with a bloody rose at the end of [his gun]. I laughed and thought when or if I get home the irony of taking these things and turning them into art works has to be done.

The work is curated by British artist Jake Chapman and produced by Peace One Day. Is an AK-47 splatter-painted by Damien Hirst (below) an earth-shattering artwork? Hirst used his ‘technique’ last year in a charity guitar show, and it’s good for raising money, but I prefer art guns I can eat and art guns I can smoke.

Spin AK47 by Damien Hirst

Spin AK47 by Damien Hirst

The AK-47 firearm is recognized as an international symbol of war, and each gun comes from a war-ravaged area of the world.

AK47 by Mat Collishaw just sold for £5,000, photo @phillipsdepury

AK47 by Mat Collishaw just sold for £5,000, photo @phillipsdepury

The transformed weapons have been on display at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and are currently being auctioned off today, October 4th. Proceeds will go directly to Peace One Day’s Global Truce 2013 Campaign.

Don't Touch AK47 by Nancy Fouts

Don't Touch AK47 by Nancy Fouts

Participating artists include: Jake and Dinos Chapman, Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Sam Taylor–Wood, Gavin Turk, Rebecca Warren, Stuart Semple, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Douglas Gordon, Jeremy Deller, Marc Quinn, Ryan Gander, Jim Lambie, Langlands and Bell, Mat Collishaw, Harland Miller, Bran Symondson, Sarah Lucas, Charming Baker, Antony Micallef, Nancy Fouts, Laila Shawa and Solange Azagury-Partridge.

AK47 by Jake and Dinos Chapman, photo @quinn313

AK47s by Jake and Dinos Chapman, photo @quinn313

Where Souls Dwell AK47 by Laila Shawa

Where Souls Dwell AK47 by Laila Shawa

Click through for more art guns and a musical pairing.

Sign of the Times AK47 by Landlands and Bell

Sign of the Times AK47 by Landlands and Bell

Nimrod AK47 by Stuart Semple

Nimrod AK47 by Stuart Semple

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