In an exhibition organized by Jake Chapman (right) with Peace One Day founder Jeremy Gilley, artists American Assault Rifles to Weapons For Peace. Image courtesy of Bonhams
LONDON— In an era plagued with wars, civil unrest and terrorism, any talk about peace is always a welcome oasis. As International Day of Peace (Peace Day, 21 September) draws near, Bonhams auction house in conjunction with leading contemporary artists are planning what has been termed Weapons For Peace. The idea is for leading contemporary artists to turn decommissioned American assault rifles into cutting-edge works of art. Coordinated by Peace One Day, a not-for-profit group which campaigns for global recognition of the International Day of Peace, the works created by the artists will be auctioned by Bonhams Auction House on October 16th as part of their prestigious Post-War & Contemporary Art sale.
Already 14 of the world’s leading contemporary artists have signed up to be part of this major art project that is generating a lot of interest amongst leading contemporary artists and art communities across the globe. Some of the artists that have confirmed their participation include Jeremy Deller and Stuart Hughes; Douglas Gordon; Mat Collishaw; Marc Quinn; Polly Morgan; Jake Chapman; Dinos Chapman; Harland Miller; Yinka Shonibare; Ryan Gander; Jonathan Meese; Peter Doig; Bjarne Melgaard; Kim Jones (Louis Vuitton).
Weapons for Peace follows a successful initiative in 2012 in which a different group of artists refashioned AK47 rifles to raise over £400,000 for Peace One Day. As the list of contemporary artists for this year’s event continues to grow, there is great hope that the M16 Art project will not only remind people about the importance of peace, but also the important role the art project is playing in bringing succor to victims of war and all those needing help across the globe. Jeremy Gilley actor, film-maker and founder of the Peace One Day notes that “The M16 Art project is an incredible way to raise awareness of the campaign that we are presently running in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.”
The works produced by the leading contemporary artists will be on display on October 13 during the London’s Freize week at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). It will be curated by Jake Chapman – one of the artists involved and a great supporter of Peace One Day. “I am incredibly honored to be working with Jake Chapman again. He is a huge supporter of what we are doing in the region. I look forward to the manifestation of this project and the subsequent impact it will have,” said Jeremy Gilley.
Peace One Day celebration begins on International Day of Peace with the Peace One Day Concert. This year’s concert will feature 5 times Grammy-nominated American-Senegalese hip-hop/RnB star Akon in Goma, a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Performing alongside Akon will be a host of local DRC talent: Lexxus Legal; Dety Darba; traditional drummers’ ensemble Sango’A; and a popular local comedian Mzee Mbukuli. The Peace One Day Concert will be presented by Ayden. There will be contributions from British actor and Peace One Day ambassador Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley.
There is great excitement at the Bonhams auctions house not just because of the collaboration with Peace One Day and leading contemporary artists, but also because art has the capacity to motivate people towards participating in good causes. Gareth Williams, Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art at Bonhams said: “We are delighted to be working with Peace One Day and to be part of this hugely exciting initiative. It is always a privilege to see the motivating effect that art has on fundraising for good causes.”