Palas por pistolas – guns into shovels

A powerful, inspiring and transformative art work from 2008 for this year’s winter turning.

‘Palas por Pistolas’ by artist Pedro Reyes was initiated in the city of Culiacán, a city in western Mexico with a high rate of deaths by gunshot.

The botanical garden of Culiacán comissioned the work as part of a programme of artists’ work in the park.  Reyes’ proposal was to ‘work in the larger scale of the city and organize a campaign for voluntary donation of weapons‘.

1527 weapons were collected. 40% of them were high power automatic weapons of exclusive military use. These weapons were taken to a military zone they were crushed by a steamroller in a public act.

The pieces were then taken to a foundry and melted. The metal was sent to a major hardware factory to produce the same number, 1527 shovels.

Shovels have then been distributed to art institutions and public schools where adults and children engage in the action of planting 1527 trees. This ritual has a pedagogical purpose of showing how an agent of death can become an agent of life.

The work was first shown in Culiacán, Mexico, with other plantings since taking place in Vancouver, San Francisco, Paris, Lyon, Texas and Colorado.

Go to Pedro Reyes ‘Palas por pistolas‘ webpage for more information about this beautiful project.

All photographs are from Pedro Reyes’ website.

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