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AK-47s Made Into Artwork Banned from Entering the U.S.

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British artist Bran Symondson was planning on showing his works, “Spoils of War,” “Beat of a Wing” and “Virtue of the Vicious” at the Maddox Gallery in Houston, but the pieces will not make it past the airport. Once U.S. customs saw that the pieces were embellished AK-47s, they decided to ban them from entering the country.

Symondson served in Afghanistan. According to a press release on his website, “[Symondson] is now considered to be one of the finest reportage photographers working in the world and is well known for his one-off installations of masterfully embellished AK-47 guns with dollar bills, iconography & butterflies.”

The guns used for the banned pieces were unusable weapons from Afghanistan. These works are politically charged with thoughtful embellishments that relate the pieces to Texas, nature, and peace.

His statements regarding the issue with his work are rather political as well. The Independent quotes him as saying, “It is ironic that the law permits U.S. citizens to go and buy a new, live weapon which I could, in theory, use to create one of my artworks from, which then could technically be used in its intended form, but will not allow my pieces of harmless art into the country.”

Title: Virtue of the Vicious. (part of a larger series I am making). Real AK47 covered with 130 real butterflies, making up the tricolour French flag representing 130 lives lost in the Paris shooting, the bullets are filled making up the narrative of the piece, 1.Salt: to represent the tears from the family's that loose loved Ones. 2.World Map: representing western Colonial rule , break up of the Ottoman Empire , Revolt against the French where the beginnings of the troubles started, "learn from our history". 3.Barbed wire: representing isolation to radicalisation , secular state descending into criminality 70% people in French jails are Muslims where they are radicalised. 4.Oil: Money made from oil sales on the black market helps fund terrorist groups and also remains why the West are so controlling of the area. 5.Religious symbols: how man hides behind religion and the reinterpretation of his beliefs to warrant acts of violence & fear. 6.Blood: blood spilled from the circle of retribution. 7.White Feather: to represent the price paid for freedom written or said, "I do not agree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it", (Voltaire). 8.Gold: & works sign arrow, Inequality, the lack of the distribution of wealth a major driver of middle East Terrorism. #ak47 #france #art #eu #euro2016 #gallery

A photo posted by Bran Symondson (@bran13) on