London-based photographer Bran Symondson has traveled to the most war-torn lands of the world and is well-versed in the destructive nature of conflicts and combat. It is in this precise environment that Symondson conceived a transformative project. Amidst the struggle and strife, Symondson developed a creative idea to not only promote peace but to also redefine the symbolic denotations of an AK-47 assault rifle.
Commissioned by Peace One Day, Symondson's ambitious project known as AKA Peace presents the works of 23 well-known artists including Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, and Nancy Fouts. The collaborative effort displays each artist's reinterpretation of the rifle that is so often the epitome of war. While some chose to adorn the gun with candy-colored stones and butterflies, others places large bullets holes all over their rifle. The artists all took varied approaches to signify their own messages.
In an interview with GQ, the photojournalist explains how the idea for this project dawned on him: “While serving in Afghanistan and also returning as a photographer for the Sunday Times Magazine, I used to see how the Afghan National Police (ANP) would sometimes adorn their AK47s with either colourful stickers, roses, or glitter tape. That's where the seed was planted for the project. Then one day, I was taking cover from incoming AK47 fire in a ditch with a young ANP lad sat next to me with a bloody rose at the end of [his gun]. I laughed and thought when or if I get home the irony of taking these things and turning them into art works has to be done.”
AKA Peace just ran its exhibition and the rifles will be auctioned on October 4th to raise funds for Peace One Day's Global Truce 2013 campaign.