Talented filmmaker and artist Ralph Ziman, who hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, has revealed his new Shona-fused project, “Ghosts” – a series of murals created to tackle the issue of arms dealing in Africa.
For his multi-media project, Ziman photographed Zimbabwean street vendors with handmade replicas of guns, before adding dye, acrylic spray-paint and ink.
Ziman explained in a statement:
“I had six Zimbabwean artists use traditional African beads and wire to manufacture several hundred replica guns like AK-47s, as well as several replica machine guns (GPMGs), along with ammunition. In response to the guns sent into that culture, the mural represents an aesthetic, anti-lethal cultural response, a visual export out of Africa. And the bead/guns themselves, manufactured in Africa, are currently being shipped to the USA and Europe.”
The artist’s project also provided work (and a little fame) for the locals who were involved in the making of the replica guns, and who witnessed the shoot take place:
“This bead/arms project provided six months full time work for half a dozen craftsman who got well deserved break from making wire animals for tourists. The completed bead/guns were (then) the subject of a photo-shoot in crime ridden downtown Johannesburg (where) the subjects were the artists who made the guns, several construction workers who happened to witness the shoot, and a member of the South African Police Services who just wanted his picture taken.
As well as appearing as street art around Ziman’s new home town, LA, the “Ghosts” series will exhibit at C.A.V.E. Gallery in Venice, California on February 8, with all proceeds from the show going to Human Rights Watch.
Image source: Hifructose.com