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Arms into Art



a virtual exhibition in cooperation with
Núcleo de Arte in Maputo, Mozambique

During the past few years, the artists' collective Nucleo de Arte got involved in an extraordinary project. In workshops, members made works of art out of AK 47 machine guns, landmines and hand weapons.

Invincible optimism, resilience and confidence in human capacity take shape in the sculptures. The war tools provided inspiration for the creation of sometimes fragile and elegant, sometimes robust sculptures. Wars can be overcome. Reconciliation is possible.

The Peace Agreement in Mozambique, signed on 4th October 1992, marked the end to sixteen years of civil war. The clearing of hundreds of thousands of landmines, which had claimed many casualties could be started.

Besides, lots of weapons of all kinds were present on both sides. For that reason, the Department for Justice, Peace and Reconciliation of the Mozambican Christian Council started a project to consolidate peace, which was called Transformation of arms into tools. The aim was to collect as many arms as possible among the population and to destroy them, so at the same time preventing them from finding their way into neighbouring countries at knock-down prices.

Depending on what kind and quantity of arms they handed in, people received simple agricultural tools or even a tractor in exchange.

Owing to the success of this campaign it occurred to the Christian Council to start a parallel project of remoulding inactivated arms into works of art.

The works of art were exhibited in the country itself and reach an international public with this virtual presentation. In the virtual exhibition, you will find a selection of 29 sculptures made by 14 artists during a Núcleo de Arte workshop in 1998.

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