I’ve always liked the War Resisters League’s broken rifle logo. But it raises a question: What do you do with all that metal after the gun is snapped in half?
While the Bible talks about beating swords into plowshares, over at God’s Politics, Sojourners web editor Cathleen Falsani writes of another, more artistic possibility. Some of the more the 2,700 guns that were traded for grocery gift certificates at a gun buy-back event run by the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles (VPC) earlier this year are now:
being “up-cycled” — melted down and re-purposed — as works of art.
One such guns-to-art creation is the “Angel of Peace” sculpture by artist Lin Evola, founder of the Peace Angels Project in California. Founded by Evola in 1992, Peace Angels “uses art as a tool for peace, working with schools and organizations at both a local and global level.”
Evola has created peace angels for Los Angeles, Jerusalem, and Johannesburg, South Africa.
As Zak Stone writes in GOOD, VPC has also comissioned a series of these statues “to commemorate the work of local leaders who take a stand against violence with their ‘Angel of Peace Award,'” and is getting the local community involved in the process:
La Fonderie, a local metalworking studio, offered to forge the statues. The gang prevention nonprofit Homies Unidos provided youth volunteers to participate in the metalsmithing process during a multi-week mentorship program.
“Every time the kids would come in, they’d bring other kids,” says Hector Calderon, a graffiti artist and metalsmith at La Fonderie who coordinated the youth program. Athina Cuevas, a 21-year-old intern at Homie Unidos, says she helps out because she “believes in a world without violence.”
As K-pop fans and Black organizers and artists are demonstrating, joyful, powerful movements draw more people in and reflect the kind of world we want to live in.
If soldiers train for armed combat, why wouldn’t activists train for toppling the political-economic structure that’s killing our chance for a just future? The stakes are just as high.
Uganda’s COVID-19 experience underscores the seemingly universal opportunism of authoritarians amidst crisis, as well as opportunities for resistance.