Mozambique: Arms into Art (2002)

By 2002, some 200.000 guns had been handed in on a “no questions asked” basis. In several places in the country, the organisation has containers with cutting-machines, where the AK447’s, pistols and grenade-launchers are destroyed.

In Maputo, the remains, still very recognizeable as gun parts, are then passed over to a group of about ten artists for the project Arms into Art. These young men have a workshop called Nucleo de Arte, in which they build small and big statues from the barrels, handles and magazines. For the artists themselves, this process can play a mayor role in transforming their own bad war experiences into something they can feel good about and proud of. For other Mozambicans, the first reaction is sometimes shock: the statues remind them of the war. But according to one of the artists, Goncalo Mabunda, “if the weapons can be destroyed, people understand that life can change for the better.”