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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 14:25 GMT
Gun sculpture unveiled by museum
Tree of Life
The sculpture is being displayed in the British Museum's courtyard
A huge sculpture made out of weapons has been unveiled at the British Museum in London.

The Tree of Life was created with dismantled pistols, AK-47s and grenade launchers from Mozambique.

The arms were decomissioned by former child soldiers in the country and exchanged for building materials, bicycles and sewing machines.

The British Museum and Christian Aid commissioned the piece for the start of the arts festival, Africa 2005.

Centrepiece

Mozambican artists spent three months working on the 10-foot high sculpture, which now stands in the courtyard of the British Museum.

It is the centrepiece of the festival, which began on Wednesday and continues until October.

A second weapons artwork, a chair made from AK-47s called the Throne of Weapons, will be shown in a number of public places across the country, including schools, prisons and shopping centres.

The move is the first of its kind for a British museum exhibit.


Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said: ""The sculptures are a wonderful symbol of reconciliation after conflict."

Bishop Dom Dinis Sengulane, founder of Mozambique's Transforming Arms Into Tools scheme, said at the unveiling: "The story of Mozambique is not just about conflict, it is not just about misery.

"It is also about creativity, and we have used these guns to bring an extraordinary message."

He added that weapons and even toy guns are "instruments for destroying human life".

Stone tools

There are still millions of arms hidden throughout Mozambique, a legacy of the country's 16-year-long civil war which ended in 1992.

The British Museum's Africa festival will see a new gallery space opened up with Made In Africa, an exhibition of stone tools from Tanzania, some of which are two million years old.

Artefacts will also be made available from museums and cultural institutions in Africa.

The BBC, South Bank Centre and the Arts Council of England are also participating in the programme of events.



SEE ALSO:
Theft attempt at British Museum
27 Jan 05 |  London
Country profile: Mozambique
21 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
Sudan treasures at British Museum
12 Aug 04 |  Entertainment


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