Famous artist turns guns into a piece of art in Libya

Hundreds of toy guns collected as a part of DanChurchAid’s armed violence reduction program in Libya have now been turned in to an art piece saying “NO” to violence

©Mohammad Bin Lamin

On April 5th an installation by the artist Mohammad Bin Lamin saying “NO” to armed violence has been inaugurated outside the new arrivals lounge of the international airport of Misurata, Libya.
©Mohammad Bin Lamin
Mohammad Bin Lamin is a well known artist from Misurata.

The art piece is made out of glass and toy guns collected as a part of the DanChurchAid Armed Violence Reduction program in Misurata. In one year the program has collected more than 1.100 toy guns that the children voluntarily gave up in exchange for LEGO boxes donated by the LEGO Foundation.
“We wanted to do something meaningful with the toy guns we collected and this is what led us to collaborate with Mohammad Bin Lamin. This monument states clearly and loudly that here armed violence is not accepted,” says Sara Rijavec, AVR Project Coordinator for DCA in Libya.
Mohammad Bin Lamin is a self-taught artist from Misurata. In February 2011 at the outbreak of the revolution he was arrested and imprisoned by the Gadhafi regime. He was released half a year later when the revolution was over and the regime was overthrown.
“I have said yes to do this monument because the message behind it is very important especially at this time in Libya. As the children surrendered the toy guns which are filling up the installation, they did just what we would like the adults to do now,” he said.
DanChurchAid’s Armed Violence Reduction Program is funded by EuropeAid.
Armed Violence Reduction and LEGO

Misurata was scene for some of the worst fighting during the Libyan revolution and many children have seen more violence and bloodshed than anyone should see.
The violence often find its way into the children’s play, however with LEGO the children can be creative in a different way.
Armed violence is a big problem in Libya because almost everyone has access to small arms and light weapons. By “disarming” the children DCA hope to send a signal to the parents that it is time for them to get rid of their weapons too.
Since spring 2013 a dedicated team  from DanChurchAid has visited 128 public primary schools in Misurata to implement behavior change activities and deliver Risk Education sessions to over 11,000 students from 3rd and 4th grades.