Pedro Reyes (22/09/11)

September 22, 2011
A flash-heavy photograph of a tree being put into the grassy ground by two figures.

Palas por Pistolas, Pedro Reyes, Collected guns melted into steel to fabricate shovels, tree planting, Guelph planting, 2011. Photo by Shawn van Sluys.

On Thursday, September 22, Mexico City-based artist Pedro Reyes will talk about his artistic practice as part of the Big Ideas in Art and Culture Lecture Series. His work is also part of 1mile2, an eight-month artistic program mapping Guelph’s cultural ecology.

Reyes’ lifelong association with Mexico City has shaped his practice and his social conscience. Trained as an architect, Reyes employs architectural and design strategies to challenge the forces that influence urban and social geography, addressing the interplay of physical and social space. His 2008 project, Palas Por Pistolas, was initiated by the botanical garden of Culiacán, a city in western Mexico with a high rate of death from the use of firearms. Proposing to work beyond the borders of the garden, Reyes organized a campaign for the voluntary donation of weapons in exchange for food stamps, domestic appliances and electronics. As a result 1,527 weapons were recovered and became the raw material to create 1,527 spades. The guns were crushed with a steamroller, smelted and refashioned to create the horticultural tools. Fifteen hundred of the spades were distributed to the Culiacán community and were used to plant 1,500 trees. Palas Por Pistolas demonstrated how agents of death could be transformed into agents of life. More…

Pedro Reyes has exhibited in institutions throughout the world, including the Carpenter Centre for Visual Arts at Harvard University; The MCA, Chicago; the San Francisco Art Institute; the Serpentine Gallery, London; CCA Kitakyushu, Japan; the Jumex Collection, Mexico City; P.S.1, New York; the Venice Biennial. 2011 will see two solo exhibitions, one at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, as well as the MAC/VAL Foundation in Paris. – See more at: