First Published in
Mexican designer Pedro Reyes collects dangerous weapons and recycles them into shovels used for tree planting.
“Palas por Pistolas” is a campaign in Western Mexico, an area with a high rate of deaths by gunshot, that called for the voluntary donation of weapons. The project was initiated after an invitation from the Botanical Garden of Culiacán, México.
Television adverts encouraged people to hand over both legal and illegal weapons to receive, in return, a coupon that could be exchanged for domestic appliances and consumer electronics.
A total of 1 527 weapons were collected, of which 40% were high power automatic weapons used exclusively in military operations. The weapons were crushed by a steam roller in a public act and then melted at a foundry.
The shovels that were made using the melted steel were distributed to public schools and art institutions where adults and children planted a total of 1 527 trees, to match the number of weapons collected.
Reyes explained that “this ritual has a pedagogical purpose of showing how an agent of death can become an agent of life”.