Mozambican designer Gonçalo Mabunda’s gorgeous sculptural chairs, furniture and masks are made from upcycled guns. The artist transforms symbols of his country’s civil war-torn past, including AK-47s, rocket launchers, pistols and other weapons, into beautiful pieces of art. The furniture and chairs will be displayed in a new exhibition at the Jack Bell Gallery next week.
Throughout Mabunda’s sculptural furniture, weaponry can be identified in varying forms. Handles of rifles become chair backs, missles become legs and hand guns are collaged together to make up an open woven seat. The decommissioned weapons each hold storied pasts, used as active weapons during Mozambique’s 16-year civil war. The specific weapons that Mabunda uses were recovered in 1992, just after the arduous war that divided the country ended. The weapons used as art materials serve as building blocks to tell the history, turning the bloody past into objects of beauty.
The artist’s chairs, called “thrones,” pay tribute to the indigenous tribal communities and their traditions that the artist grew up with. The upcycled gun pieces evoke both tribal and African Art from Mabunda’s home country, with the rusted metal of each weapon imitating traditional wood used in his culture. Mabunda is also influenced by modernity, not only having recycling as a central focus to his pieces, but also touching influences of modern masters like Picasso and Georges Braque.
The pieces will be on display at Jack Bell Gallery in London in Mabunda’s “When I Get Gree” exhibition, which runs from July 12 to August 10, 2013.