The London-based Art the Arms Fair is an artistic movement against the arms trade, timed to expose the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) military conference in London. Previous fairs have included Banksy and Cassetteboy: this year’s programme, which runs until 13 September, includes a sale of works by the likes of Anish Kapoor and Shepherd Fairey, with proceeds to Campaign Against Arms Trade and Reprieve
Published date: 6 September 2019 23:40
Welcome To Hell by Jill Gibbon and Ricky Adams (2018)
Gibbon’s work at the fair, including a series of concertina sketchbooks, is drawn from her decade of attending DSEI undercover. The chilling Welcome To Hell is actually a freebie sweet, given to clients by BAE Systems Bofors, which marketed its test centres as “Hell for your product, heaven for your investment” (Jill Gibbon and Ricky Adams/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair)
Untitled by Anish Kapoor (2015)
Kapoor, who was knighted in 2013, is renowned for his public sculptures, including the Orbit in London’s Olympic Park. This work for the fair plays on themes of light and darkness. In a statement, Kapoor said that he supported the work of the fair because the “human, environmental and spiritual cost of this vile trade is a shameful legacy that we all carry. We must therefore stand up and oppose this trade and all who profit from the violence, sadness and destruction it brings” (Anish Kapoor/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair)
Peace Guard II by Shepard Fairey (2016)
The screenprints and stencils of Shepard Fairey are known primarily through work such as Hope, which was used in Barack Obama’s 2008 US presidential election campaign. Fairey draws on street culture and graffiti for his work, which often addresses social issues: here, Peace Guard II shows his support for gun control. “I’m not anti-2nd Amendment, I’m pro-common sense,” he said in 2013. “No one needs an assault rifle with a 50 round clip, especially without a background check.” (Shepard Fairey/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair).
Dawn by Saba Jallas (2018)
The photo collages of Yemeni artist Saba Jallas have come to prominence during the Yemeni war. Here her work Dawn juxtaposes the innocence of a child playing on a swing with the stark brutality of conflict. The result is an unreal yet almost ordinary presentation of everyday life in the Gulf nation (Saba Jallas/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair)
UK Arms Companies 2 by Ahmed Jahaf (2019)
Ahmed Jahaf, whose work was shown at the fair in 2017, this year examines how British companies have supplied the Saudi-led coalition in his native Yemen. According to CAAT, the UK government has granted arms export licences worth more than £6.3bn for sales to Saudi Arabia since 2015; and £460m to the UAE, Riyadh’s chief coalition partner, during the same period (Ahmed Jahaf/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair)
Arms We Need by Ralph Steadman (1987)
Steadman, one of the UK’s most illustrators and satirists of the past century, is perhaps best known for his work with Gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson. He is renowned for his biting satire about conflict, including the images such as How You Gonna Crucify A Child In Vietnam Without Any Arms. His work Arms We Need depicts a decapitated man and was first produced in 1987 (Ralph Steadman/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair)
Murarabungu Chigawaga 4 by Ralph Ziman (2013)
The work of Ralph Ziman, who grew up in South Africa, is driven by a sense of social justice: frequent themes include apartheid, state violence and militarisation. His work often features military hardware wrapped and covered in ornate and colourful glass beadwork inspired by artisans from southern Africa. Murarabungu Chigawaga 4 depicts AK-47s that were handcrafted with the help of Zimbabwean street vendors, who Ziman then captured posing with the replica weaponry (Ralph Ziman/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair).
Sessizlik by Zehra Dogan (2019)
Kurdish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan served three years in prison after Turkish authorities accused her of ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). She was eventually freed in February 2019. “The wars in the Middle East are going on for decades not only shaping the land and the maps but also shaping people’s lives,” she said. “More money is spent for wars compared to feeding the people, so people get more weapons than food. Their silence isn’t heard in the rest of the world” (Zehra Dogan/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair)
Marble Tub by Yasmine Diaz (2019)
Diaz was born and raised in Chicago to parents who came from the highlands of southern Yemen. Like Jallas, she also makes use of contrast, here mixing the luxury of a bathroom – symbolising class inequalities – with the burnt ruins of Yemen (Yasmine Diaz/courtesy of Art The Arms Fair)
The Art The Arms Fair runs until 13 September at the Maverick Projects, Peckham, London. See the website for details.