Mexican artist Pedro Reyes is turning guns into musical instruments as a statement of peace. In 2008, the artist started a project called imagine, a set of 50 musical instruments made from destroyed weapons.
In 2012, Pedro Reyes posted some pictures on the creation of and story behind "Imagine" calling for an end to violence in Mexico and also for a stop to industries that support illegal gun sales and "glamorize" violence.
"A group of six musicians worked for two weeks shoulder-to-shoulder turning these 'agents of death' into 'instruments of life,'" Reyes posted on his blog. "The task was challenging, but they succeeded in extracting sounds, from percussion to wind and string. It's difficult to explain but the transformation was more than physical. It's important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons as if a sort of exorcism was taking place, the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost."
Now, Mr. Reyes is working on a new project called "Disarm." This time, Reyes revealed to The Associated Press, he was able to choose his instruments from about 6,700 weapons seized by the army or police or turned in in the city of Ciudad Juarez. In good news, a recent report said the city is "shedding" its violent image.
"The dramatic thing is that this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the weapons that are seized everyday and that the army has to destroy," Reyes said while demonstrating the way his new instruments sounded.
These same guns once caused so many deaths, but now Pedro Reyes, a pacifist, is making beautiful music with them. He hopes to spread that message. His new project is called "Disarm" because "music is the opposite of weapons," Times Union reports. Reyes is hopeful that what he has done with guns through art and creativity, can be done through society if the right message is spread. And Reyes believes little by little, he is helping to spread that message.
Reyes has previously worked with guns, but for more than just musical purposes. In 2008, he melted down 1,527 weapons into shovels, which were used to plant trees.