For a new London art project, rifles have been decomissioned and customized—getting covered with flowers or pulverized into a fine dust. Bran Symondson, a photographer and former army reservist, came up with the idea for the project, “AKA Peace,” which opened yesterday at London’s Institute for Contemporary Arts, when he noted how policemen in Afghanistan would jazz up their guns with flowers and stickers, kind of like a teenager. With a little help from curator Jake Chapman, he got Damien Hirst to “spin-paint” one of them.
“A lot of people say ‘am I scared of glorifying the AK-47?'” Mr. Symondson told Reuters. “But I think the AK-47 is already glorified. I think the strongest message here is to show it can be used for something else visually and mentally.”
Damien Hirst is one of over 20 artists involved in the show, which is up through Sep. 30 at the ICA. On Oct. 4, the bedecked guns will go up for sale at Phillips de Pury to benefit Peace One Day, a charity that advocates for a global day of non-violence every Sept. 21.
As if it needed more glorification. Here’s a spiffy trailer they’ve made for the show: