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To be clear, I do not want to glorify weapons in any shape, way or form. I do not want to commend or approve of these deathly designs of war, or their creators. These fatal instruments are in my eyes, the most brutal and dreadful creations of our species. However, their complex history and origins remain anchored in our society, often intertwined within different cultures. They can also serve as a symbol of liberation and freedom; It is in this way that I choose to represent my work. I also want to acknowledge that war is in fact a business, and that these weapons serve as agents to this business. My thoughts and prayers go to each of the victims of these ongoing atrocities, and the many ones caused by war and weaponry before.

 

The AK-47 is a Russian Soviet assault rifle. The initials AK represent Avtomat Kalashnikova, Russian for “automatic Kalashnikov,” named after its designer. Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, who designed the accepted version of the weapon in 1947. It is perhaps the most recognisable and widely used weapon on the earth. His invention was the gun that killed more people than all the weapons of mass destruction combined. It is now being used on both sides of the conflict.

 

The FGM 148 Javelin is an American shoulder-fired anti-aircraft rocket launcher, created in 1996. It is being used widely as Ukraine's defence against Russia's ongoing invasion. These will either completely destroy a tank, or incapacitate the crew inside. It is said to be pivotal in the conflict.

 

A Molotov cocktail, also known as a petrol bomb, is an improvised incendiary weapon. It is made by filling a glass bottle with flammable substances. A fuse is attached to the bottle. When the bottle is thrown, it shatters on impact and spreads its burning contents. The name "Molotov cocktail" comes from a pejorative reference to Soviet foreign minister Molotov in the Winter War. He declared on Soviet state radio that bombing runs over Finland were airborne humanitarian food deliveries for their starving neighbours. As a result, the Finns sarcastically dubbed the Soviet cluster bombs "Molotov bread baskets" in reference to Molotov's propaganda, and responded by using petrol bombs against Russian tanks and calling them “Molotov cocktails”. They are now being produced by Ukrainian troops and civilians in the conflict.

 

The Mikoyan MiG-29 is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s, along with the larger Sukhoi Su-27. During this 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, they are the primary fighter aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force. The “Ghost of Kyiv” is even said to be piloting one.

12/03/2022

The piece was donated and exhibited in the fundraiser emergency art sale exhibition held for ArtisitsForUkraine.org and organised by Susanne Clausen, Professor of Fine Art at the University of Reading.

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