While working on one of his forthcoming feature film, South African artist and film maker Ralph Ziman collaborated with several artists in Johannesburg to create a side project that aimed at addressing the international arms trade. ‘Ghosts’, is a series of photographs featuring 200 beaded guns and ammunition sculptures created by 6 Zimbabwean artisans commissioned by Ziman. The sculptures are made from traditional African beads and wire and are replicas of AK-47s and general purpose machine guns (GPMGs). After the sculptures were finished, Ziman did a photo shoot of the artists as the subjects holding their creations. Other subjects consisted of several construction workers who happened to witness the shoot, and a member of the South African Police Services who just wanted his picture taken.
The project confronts the complex socioeconomic and political circumstances of the African arms trade – a multinational, multibillion dollar industry that moves in one direction only – into Africa.
‘Ghosts’, featuring the gun sculptures, installations, and photographs will be on display at C.A.V.E Gallery in Los Angeles from 8th February until 2nd March 2014.