Some of the best known names in British 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.
Bran Symondson, winner of the 2011 Amnesty International Media Award, a dynamic photographer who con- ceived the idea of AKA Peace following his experience as a soldier in Afghanistan. “Having experienced action whilst serving in Afghanistan, and seeing how Afghan police adorned their AK47’s with roses and stickers, I wanted to turn the most iconic weapon in the world from one of fear and unrest to one of beauty and intrigue. This has been the seed for creating the ‘AKA Peace’ project” – Bran Symondson
The project, which coincides with Peace Day on Friday 21 September 2012, aims to raise funds for Peace One Day’s Global Truce 2013 campaign whilst increasing awareness of Peace Day itself. The exhibition will take place 26 – 30 September 2012 at the ICA, London, to be directly followed by an auction of the exhibited works held by Phillips de Pury & Company to be held at Howick Place, London SW1P 1BB on Thursday 4th October 2012.
Full list of artists involved: Charming Baker, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Mat Collishaw, Jeremy Deller, Nancy Fouts, Ryan Gander, Douglas Gordon, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Jim Lambie, Lang- lands & Bell, Sarah Lucas, Antony Micallef, Harland Miller, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Marc Quinn, Stuart Semple, Laila Shawa, Bran Symondson, SamTaylor-Wood, Gavin Turk and Rebecca Warren.
Bran Symondson said “The irony of taking the most devastating weapon in the world, and seeing the reinterpretation of the AK47 through these artists’ eyes, into one of beauty is a powerful catalyst for hope and peace, and that is able to grow from a day of world peace.”
Jake Chapman said, “I am not readily associated with a sense of philanthropic optimism, but after a meeting with Jeremy Gilley at Peace One Day, my pessimism was suspended in favour of supporting this audacious attempt to intervene against human injustice. We have therefore assembled a number of artists prepared to do what they can to collaborate against apathy.”
Sam Taylor-Wood said, “In recent times His Holiness, the Dalai Lama has called for the cultivation of world love and compassion by eliminating selfishness and greed. As war is wholly based in selfishness and greed, I can think of no better way for us all to work towards a Global Truce in uniting for a day of ceasefire observed unilaterally across the world. I hope that the AK 47 Art work project raises visibility and hope for this extraor- dinary cause.”
Peace One Day ambassador Jude Law said, “It’s wonderful that so many important contemporary artists have come together to support Peace One Day. It’s exciting to me that art, music and film play such an important role in helping Peace One Day to raise awareness of Peace Day; AKA Peace is a unique and fascinating project.”
The piece created by Bran Symondson is entitled ‘Commodities’; Each bullet is filled with a significant com- modity of what makes the AK47 one of the world’s most notorious weapons.
Earth (representing land), oil, opium poppy seeds (from Afghanistan ) gold, diamonds, cocaine, blood, coffee, dove feather & olive leaf (Peace) and religious symbols. The five burnt dollar bills on the bayonet represent the five friends Bran lost in Afghanistan.
Simon de Pury, Chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company, said, “We are proud to be lending our support for Peace One Day. We fully share the concern of the highly talented and very generous group of artists that are participating in ‘AKA Peace’.”
Jeremy Gilley, founder of Peace One Day said, “AKA Peace is a really profound project; turning a weapon of destruction into a weapon of peace is awesome. The benefits of awareness and finance to help Global Truce 2013 is a great outcome. I’m grateful to Bran for having a wonderful idea and it’s an honour to have Jake Chap- man curate the project.”
Peace Day 2012 will be marked by the Peace One Day Concert, at Wembley Arena in London. Headlining the concert will be Elton John, alongside James Morrison and 2Cellos.
For further information about ‘AKA Peace’ visit: www.peaceoneday.org
To view Bran Symondson portfolio visit www.bransymondson.com
There will be 2 opportunities to see all the works.. the first at the ICA (26-30th Sept) and then at Phillips de Pury (4th – 6th October) where the pieces will be auctioned off – the proceeds will go to the Peace One Day charity. This also will tie into World Peace Day on the 21st September (see release for more information). Main Photo: © Bran Symondson founder of AKA Peace