Artist Pedro Reyes Creates Beautiful Instruments from 6,700 Mexican Drug War Guns

by , 10/30/12

green design, eco design, sustainable design, Pedro Reyes, Mexico City, upcycled weapons, recycled weapons, weapon instruments, gun violence mexico

Reyes collaborated with six musicians to create the unusual instruments. The guns, which range from rifles to pistols, were slated for burial, a common practice in mass weapon disposals in Mexico. Reyes intercepted the weaponry and began the transformation by melting and cutting down each piece. The pieces were then given strings, mouth pieces, or welded together to make a variety of string, wind, and percussion instruments. Remarkably, the gun guitars, rifle barrel flutes and helmet banjos work together to produce beautiful music, despite their destructive past.

Reyes also calls attention to the fact that the components of his musical instruments have likely taken lives in the past. Almost 80,000 deaths have been caused by guns in Mexico in just six years, some of which could have been at the hands of the weapons upcycled into this project. Many of the guns were initially illegally acquired without license or permit, bringing full circle to the gun trade problem in the region.

The gun instruments act as a requiem for the lives they’ve taken, symbolically expelling the spirits of the lives that were lost with each musical note. Reyes is no stranger to working with guns, having previously melted down 1,527 weapons into shovels that were used to plant trees in 2008.

+ Pedro Reyes

Via This is Colossal


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1 Comment

  1. Bob McMahon August 14, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    seeing this makes me so happy We might make it after ALL Viva Mexico. I,m looking for an EM16teen for my new band. Thank you and keep up the good work bob

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