Every year, the WA Police take possession of firearms, knives and other weapons during scheduled amnesties as well as the routine implementation of their duties. These items are systematically dismantled for safe disposal, the residue often being shipped off-shore for melting down and recycling.
The idea to use the deconstructed weaponry in artworks emerged through negotiation between Ian Boyd from the Police Department and well-known Perth artist Stuart Elliott. Selected artists were invited to sift through mounds of broken, sawn-up pieces of weapons such as rifles, knives and guns, and return a few months later with an artwork using said material. It was proposed that a generous portion of any sales from the subsequent exhibition would be donated to the Bright Blue Charity Organisation to raise money for sick children.
The first 'Of Spears and Pruning Hooks' exhibition was held in October 2011, at the Junction Gallery in Midland (view website). Based on the resounding success of the first show, 'Of Spears and Pruning Hooks' is now scheduled as a biennial exhibition at Edith Cowan University.
Curated by Sue Starcken and Stuart Elliott, 'Of Spears and Pruning Hooks II' opened on Thursday 1st May at Spectrum Project Space.
The exhibition's premise draws on the biblical reference to the metaphorical reconstruction of negative into positive.
Participation in the show is by invitation only, and this years' group of 34 artists have created some extraordinary works using negative connoted objects and taking them somewhere sociologically, philosophically or politically interesting.