Transforming arms into art in Mozambique

At the world-renowned artist studio Núcleo de Arte in Maputo, Mozambican artist Fiel dos Santos recalls a childhood robbed by military struggle.

“I grew up in civil war,” says Santos, who was five years old when his country became embroiled in a conflict that would last 16 years. “In my area the rebels were coming two times a week, every month, every day—but I’m here.”

In this video, Santos destroys weapons leftover from Mozambique’s civil war, and welds them into mixed-media sculptures. His artwork is part of a larger project called Transformaçaõ de Armas em Enxadas (Transforming Arms into Tools), which has amassed a collection of over 700,000 illegal weapons since 1995.

“I continue this project because it’s my contribution, my social contribution,” says Santos. “Transforming guns is transforming minds.”

Later this year, Fiel will be releasing a stop-motion animated short using metal sculptures created from decommissioned arms. The 17-minute film, Little Fiel, will tell the story of Fiel’s youth, growing up with two brothers fighting on opposing sides of Mozambique’s civil war.

In this video by Journalists for Human Rights reporters Sarah Berman and Sarah Feldbloom, Santos destroys weapons leftover from Mozambique’s civil war, and welds them into mixed-media sculptures.

This entry was posted in IYIP Rights Media Internships, Malawi and tagged , , on by .

About Sarah Berman

Since entering journalism in 2006, Sarah Berman has built her resume to include stints at the Vancouver Sun, and a number of magazines, including Adbusters, Discorder and Megaphone. She’s now adding to the roster with her current placement at the Daily Times in Blantyre, Malawi, where she’ll be working with local journalists for the next six months to coproduce human rights stories. Last year, Berman traveled to Thailand to work on a five-part online documentary about the social and environmental impact of shrimp farming, which featured on the Globe and Mail website. She also wrote and produced an independent doc about illegal advertising in New York City, which has been screened in Canada and the USA. Berman has a Masters degree in journalism from the University of British Columbia and an undergraduate degree in media studies from the University of Western Ontario

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