The most recognised and deadliest weapon is set for a new image, as the AK-47 receives a makeover. The new project based in London is changing the unpleasant image of the killing machine by adorning it in sparkly rhinestones, silver tinted horns and bedazzling metal dust.

This exhibition comes from a former army reservist and Sunday Times photographer Bran Symondson. The show is called “AKA Peace” and is inspired by Symondson’s own experience serving within Afghanistan, noticing how the native policemen would decorate their guns.

The inspiration for this comes from Symondson noticing how the Afghan police would decorate their AK-47s with flowers and stickers. Coming to the realisation that the reason for this was because for many it was their only possession, pimping it with these items makes sense. It is similar he argues to the way “teenagers pimp their cars in the UK”

Though the showcase is not just showing off Symondson’s work, as he has managed to attract some of the finest contemporary British artists to pitch in. The show features the work of Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Mark Quinn and the Chapman Brothers whose work will be auctioned off at a charity auction sometime next week.

Though there are over thirty artists in total who have contributed to the exhibition which runs to the end of September at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Central London.

One of the pieces expected to bring in some serious cash is that of Damien Hirst, whose piece is instantly recognisable. Hirst has spin painted his gun with some rather garish colours, making it one of the stand out models. Though the Chapman brothers have their piece held by toddlers, who have had their noses replaced by….phalluses.

Though it is once you get a insight into the artists and the inspirations for the pieces do some of them become hard hitting. The Palestinian artist Laila Shawa, who is no stranger to one of these weapons said that the rifle was rather ubiquitous and nothing new as they are constantly present on the streets of her homeland.

While cleaning the weapon so Shawa could begin her work she found congealed blood within the weapon, which apparently really brought home the deadly power of this killing machine.

This is a remarkably insightful exhibition on what is a very sensitive subject, as many people instantly think of the anguish and pain caused by these weapons but like every story there is two sides. So we leave you with a quote by artist Charming Baker who said,

“I don’t feel like I have this naive idea that a gun is just a weapon of destruction I’m sure there are guns here that have saved people’s lives and their families have been pleased about it. That’s the way you use any tool, isn’t it?”

Come and decided whether your fore and against this show and take a look, if not for the weapon itself but for the charity auction and amazing artistry involved.

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