An innovative group art exhibition that sees local practitioners fashioning pieces out of discarded firearm and weapon parts, Of Spears And Pruning Hooks II is a collaboration between Edith Cowan University, the WA Police and Bright Blue – Police Commissioner’s Fund for Sick Kids. We spoke to curator Sue Starcken.
“In 2011 Stuart Elliot, a significant Western Australian artist, had a conversation with Ian Boyd of the WA Police.” Sue Starcken explains. “Ian was talking about all these cut up guns and confiscated weapons that they had to dispose of, and so they kind of hatched the idea of turning those weapons and bits and pieces into actual artworks. They embarked on this big project and it was such a success and the artworks were so amazing that, down the track, we decided to do it again. In fact, we’re going to be doing it every two years.”
Participation in the exhibition is by invitation only. “We make a selection of artists that we kind of think would have an affinity for the material or would do something profound or something different or exciting or innovative. We then cast about and invited 36 or 37 artists and we have 34 showing, so almost everyone said yes. We thought we might have a few that would say no, but it’s such an interesting project that everyone responded so positively. The few that dropped out had other commitments with travel and that kind of thing. Our 34 artists are very prominent across the board, across different practices. That’s what we wanted – we wanted two dimensional, three dimensional, we wanted kinetic – and we’ve got a bit of everything.”
Although the pieces on display cover a brad range of forms and media, many of them are sculpture, as one might expect when considering the raw materials. “Sculptural work that is either installation based or manufactured in larger pieces and assembled.” Starcken confirms. “Artists have followed the suggestion of the materials in some cases, or they’ve completely altered the material in other cases and there’s nothing recognisable any more. So there’s a bit of both sides of that.”
Of Spears And Pruning Hooks II runs at ECU’s Spectrum Project space From Friday, May 2, until Friday, May 16. Head here for more information.