Since 2008, mexican artist Pedro Reyes has been turning to weapons as a medium to address the crime rates in his native country by transforming them into objects of social engagement. he first began working with Palas por Pistolas, a campaign which invited citizens of the western mexican city of Culiacán – a city known for high rates of gun-related deaths – to voluntarily donate illegal weapons. Rewards in the form of coupons redeemable at local stores for domestic appliances and electronics, where given to those who did. The 1527 collected firearms were then crushed by steamroller, melted in a foundry and given to a major hardware store to be cast into shovels which were then distributed to a number of institutions for adults and children to participate in the action of planing 1527 trees.

His most recent project ‘imagine’ is a set of 50 musical instruments also fabricated out of a variety of firearms including revolvers, shot-guns, machine guns etc. commissioned by alumnos 47. The undertaking developed from a simple phone call that reyes received from he government who had learned about palas por pistolas and informed the artist that there would be a public destruction of weapons taking place in Ciudad Juarez. They asked him if he wanted to keep the discarded metal which would otherwise be buried. Armed with 6700 pieces, over the course of two weeks, working together with six musicians, he transformed the confiscated guns into a fully functioning orchestra which include a flute, guitar and drum kit.

A concert played using the musical instruments made from weapons.

The making of the instruments.

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