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Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where the people upstairs have a leaky faucet. But what is “leaking” isn’t water, but “hundreds of thousands of guns.”
At the University of South Florida in Tampa In 2014, Reyes held a series of workshop and a performance, using theater to encourage a discussion about guns in the USA.
He called it called “Legislative Theater”; a style of performance pioneered in Latin America in the 1960s to influence social change. His purpose was to make people think about the impact of guns not only in the USA but in its neighbor, Mexico. Reyes called his project “The Amendment to the Amendment”: specifically, the Second Amendment, which is perceived to guarantee the “right to bear arms” . Reyes asked his audience to consider if there are possible changes in he perception of the amendment.
Reyes believes art should address social issues even when they’re difficult and controversial. “We have to be allowed to ask questions,” he says. “If you’re not allowed to ask questions, you are not really free.”
Reyes addresses the issue of gun violence by using guns themselves. His project began in 2007 in Mexico as part of a campaign against to shootings . The city collected 1,527 guns and Reyes used them to create art. Every gun melted and made into the same number of shovels.. “For every gun now there are shovels. And with every shovel, we planted a tree.”
His next project was transforming guns into musical instruments. An exhibition, called “Disarm,“ work was on display at the University of South Florida. It consists of guns that have been turned into musical instruments: