Art the Arms Fair 2019

The following is a selection of participating artists’ work from the Art the Arms Fair 2019

Organizers: Art the Arms Fair Collective (United Kingdom)
Collaborators: Campaign Against the Arms Trade (United Kingdom)

London, United Kingdom

Every two years London is host to one of the largest arms fairs, where delegations from around the world trade and purchase weaponry. Running parallel, the Art the Arms Fair exposes and expands discourse on the international arms trade’s role in contemporary society. Through visual art exhibitions, lectures, and workshops, along with poetry, comedy, and music events, artists and the wider public voice opposition while envisioning alternatives to the war industry. Free to all, the diverse set of art offerings present a more accessible format for people who are not comfortable engaging in confrontational protests.

Peace Guard II
Designer: Shepard Fairey (United States)
Screenprint on paper

This image serves as a reminder that pushing for peace, ironically, requires a militant vigilance itself. I love
the juxtaposition of seemingly contradictory symbols. Peace is victory without war. It’s a good day when
you don’t have to use your A.K.!

— Shepard Fairey

A stylized poster featuring uniformed woman holding an automatic weapon with a red flower blooming out of the top.

Shepard Fairey, Peace Guard II (2016; center) on display at Art the Arms Fair, London, 2019; Photo: Rosie Litterick

Pattern Tank
Artist: Tristan Oliver (United Kingdom)
Photographic print on paper
Courtesy of Tristan Oliver

This tank, a Czech T-34 and a veteran of the 1968 Prague Spring, sits incongruously on a small plot of land at the end of a neat terrace of small Victorian houses. The barrel points at the local council office, which had refused planning permission to the
owner of the plot. The tank has become a canvas for local artists and regularly changes appearance.

— Tristan Oliver

A military tank is painted with a variety of bold, playful colors.

Tristan Oliver, Pattern Tank (2019). The photograph was on display at Art the Arms Fair, London, 2019. Courtesy of Tristan Oliver

Striking Suit with Police Baton Chart
Designer: War Boutique (United Kingdom)
Organic cotton (suit), print on rag paper (chart)

Courtesy of War Boutique X Maharishi

The Striking Suit uses a traffic-light system of color-coded panels to indicate the escalating severity of injury to vital and vulnerable areas on the body if struck by a baton. This system is used to train police officers where and where not to strike a person.
Cities will always need policemen in some form. Striking Suit is a reminder of the delicate balance of power enshrined in these roles.

— War Boutique

Set against a battered blue and gray wall, a mannequin sits cross legged, leaning downwards. It is wearing a green, orange, and yellow tracksuit with corresponding orange, gray, and white tennis shoes.

War Boutique, Striking Suit (2017), on display at Art the Arms Fair, London, 2019. Photo: Rosie Litterick

Bold black text at the top reads “POLICE BATON CHART” with text below reading “Escalation of Trauma By Vital And Vulnerable Striking Areas”. In the center there are two body diagrams showing the front and back of a person highlighted in red, green, and orange to show various levels of impact trauma.

Courtesy of War Boutique X Maharishi; Photo by © Smithsonian Institution

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