Down the barrel of some gun culture

14. 827ARTSGUNS and knives collected by WA police have been transformed into “positive” works of art by Perth artists.

Each week WA police destroy more than 100 weapons and artist Stuart Elliott thought they could be put to better use.

Following negotiations with WA Police, 30 Perth artists got their hands on weapons confiscated by coppers while on patrol and surrendered during last year’s firearms amnesty.

The resultant weapon-art will be displayed in the exhibition Of Spears and Pruning Hooks at ECU Mt Lawley.

ECU art curator Sue Stracken says 40 per cent of sales from the exhibition will go to the charity Bright Blue, which funds research to find a cure for childhood cancer.

“The title, Of Spears and Pruning Hooks, draws from Isaiah 2.4, King James Bible which advocates goodwill via the conversion of ‘swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks’,” she says.

“The conceptual premise is the transformation of potential malevolence to certain benevolence and in the context of this exhibition, it is the altruistic conversion of gun and knife parts to art and charity.

“Some of the interpretations for artworks have a deep-seated sense of irony—for example, Peter Knight produced a ‘trophy’ of a wall-mounted deer constructed of gun parts.”

Artist Bruce Slatter says his work Trigger Happy; Grime Stoppers is a reflection on society.

“It uses confiscated and redundant rifle butts to draw parallels between the measure and use of force and aggression in two quite differing spaces, that of the domestic space and the criminal underworld.”

The biennial exhibition is at the Spectrum Project Space, ECU Mt Lawley, from May 2 to May 16.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

 

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