Photo Essay | Bran Symondson: AKA Peace exhibition
New in Ceasefire - Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 0:00 - 1 Comment
The most celebrated names in Contemporary Art – including Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Jeremy Deller, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Gavin Turk, Stuart Semple, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Wood – are uniting for Peace One Day, to react against the horror of violence globally, with ‘AKA Peace’.
Creating brand new works for a blockbuster autumn exhibition, to be curated by Jake Chapman in collaboration with non-profit organisation Peace One Day, these artists will reinterpret an AK-47 assault rifle – the most recognisable and devastating worldwide killing machine – as arresting artworks of intrigue and even beauty; recasting a weapon
of devastation as a conduit to peace.
Winner of the 2011 Amnesty International Media Award, the dynamic photographer Bran Symondson conceived the idea of AKA Peace following his experience as a soldier in Afghanistan. In the exclusive photo essay below, Symondson reflects on the project.
A few years ago I was working in photography, fashion and advertising. Seeking a new direction, I joined the Army reserves and was soon serving in Afghanistan with the British Army, mentoring the Afghan National Police (ANP).
It was there, while spending time with the ANP, that a new perspective on the situation started started to emerge. I became aware of Afghani culture in its irreducible complexities (including, for instance, the role of the Chai boy within the group).
It was then I also noticed how the AK47, for a lot of these men, was their one and only possession, and were accordingly adorned with either colourful stickers, glitter tape or bright pink roses, beautiful-smelling natural ones or silk flowers.
Having worked to earn their trust, I was able to photograph these intimate moments with them and somehow show glimpses of a beautiful people in a very harsh environment both natural and man-made.
Once back in the UK I was commissioned to return to Afghanistan to cover this story for The Sunday Times. This then went on to become the critically acclaimed exhibition – “The Best View Of Heaven Is From Hell”.
This experience as well as my time in Dadaab (it was there that I photographed a man with an AK47 round still lodged in him and discovered the prominence of the AK47 as a symbol) became the seed for AKA Peace.
This has been the aim of this project: to turn the most iconic weapon in the world from one of fear and destruction into one of beauty and intrigue. To highlight, and reject, the horrors of violence and war.
Exhibition: The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA).
26 – 30 September 2012.
Auction: Phillips de Pury & Company, Howick Place, London SW1P 1BB.
Thursday, 4 October 2012.
Leave a Reply
- Arts & Culture | Lutfur Rahman Verdict: An Overview
- Analysis | ‘Burning A Woman Who’s Already Dead': On (Not) Talking About Male Violence Against Women
- Comment | Theresa May’s Witch-Hunt of the Muslim Community Continues
- Comment | How the UK ‘security’ Industry Fuels Human Rights Abuses Around the World
- Ideas | First we take Athens, then we take Berlin? Syriza’s victory and the twilight of Neoliberalism
More In Politics
- Comment | The Maajid Nawaz Scandal: With ‘Feminists’ Like These, Who Needs The Patriarchy?
- Politics | Yemen: This is about geopolitical, not sectarian, interests
- Comment | The Last Stand: On the Lutfur Rahman Trial
- Comment | We Afghans Must Insure We’ll Never Have to Mourn Another Farkhunda
- Politics | From Ferguson to the UK: Racist State Violence is a Global Problem. So Must be the Resistance.
More In Features
- Interview | Bridget Anderson on Europe’s ‘violent humanitarianism’ in the Mediterranean
- Arts & Culture | Race, Migration and Politics: In Conversation With Gary Younge
- Interview | Aamer Rahman: “I never make up stories, all my stories are true”
- Special Report | A new front in the War on Terror in Bangladesh? The Avijit Roy Murder and the Manufacturing of Consent
- Special Report | How our governments use military charities to evade the real cost of their wars
More In Profiles
More In Arts & Culture
- Books | Review | Unmaking Merlin: Anarchist Tendencies in English Literature (Zero Books)
- Arts & Culture | Incorrigible Idealist vs. Impenetrable Darkness: The suspect politics of ‘The Honourable Woman’
- Books | Review | ‘Assata: An Autobiography’ by Assata Shakur
- Interview | Film | Annemarie Jacir: “I’m not interested in showing the West that ‘Palestinians are humans, too'”
- Interview | In the Shadow of War: Exploring post-conflict Bosnia