Sculptor Melts Guns to Make Shovels

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Artist Pedro Reyes transformed 1527 guns into weapons of creation

Read about one sculptor’s way to defeat gun violence and have them make a positive contribution to society:

Collecting guns artist will turn into shovels

Pedro Reyes is an artist who likes to do things that are a little unconventional. And he likes to take action!

Combine those two things with his creativity and you just never know what you will get.

Reyes is from Culiacán, Mexico. That city has a high rate of violence and deaths from shootings. The botanical garden attempted to help stem the violence by commissioning artists to hold interventions in the park.

You would think that would be enough, right?

Well, not satisfied, but wanting to fight the gun violence in his hometown, Reyes instead proposed something on a much larger scale.

…my proposal was to work in the larger scale of the city and organize a campaign for voluntary donation of weapons. Several television ads were prepared by the local TV station inviting citizens to give up a were gun and exchange for a coupon. Those coupons could be traded in a local store in exchanges for domestic appliances and electronics.

1527 weapons were collected. 40% of them were high power automatic weapons of exclusive military use. These weapons were taken to a military zone they were crushed by a steamroller in a public act.

artist turns guns into shovels: a smashing success

Once the weapons were smashed into bits, those bits were taken to a foundry. Once melted down a hardware factory turned them into shovels.

You could say that this sculptor’s idea to melt guns into shovels has been a smashing success.

1527 firearms that could be used to end life became 1527 shovels to plant new life.

Sculptor Pedro Reyes turns guns into shovels

On the handle of each shovel is the story of how they came to be. The shovels were then sent to art institutions and public schools.

And guess how many trees were planted? Yep, 1527!

This isn’t the first time that Reyes transformed guns. A previous project included melting down such instruments of violence to create musical instruments.

artist melts guns to create musical instruments

Learn more about Reyes’ unusual art on his website–and no, it doesn’t all involve melted down firearms!


Read about Pedro Reyes’s Palas por Pistolas

See more photos of the melting guns to make shovels project on the original article on the Plaid Zebra.

Thanks for sharing our love of sculpture!
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