Se encuentra usted aquí

Shovels from Pistols to plant Oaks

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes melted guns to fabricate shovels to plant 7,000 oaks
Photo: Courtesy of Pedro Reyes Studio
Mexico City
-A +A

As part of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennal, Mexican artist Pedro Reyes along with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), melted guns into steel to fabricate shovels to plant 7,000 trees in a very peculiar project titled “Rooting of Oaks of North Lawndale” in North Lawndale, Chicago.

Guns, firearms, and weapons from throughout the city of Chicago were destroyed and melted to make shovels that will be used this Saturday to plant 7,000 trees. The Mexican conceptual artist will merge his piece "Shovels from Pistols" (2008) with the famous project "7000 Oaks – City Forestation Instead of City Administration” (1982) a work of land art by German artist Joseph Beuys.

Photo: Taken from Pedro Reyes website

According to the artist, "Shovels from Pistols" (“Palas por Pistolas”) initiated in Culiacán a city with a high rate of deaths by gunshot in western Mexico. 1,527 weapons were collected and taken to a military zone where they were crushed by a steamroller in a public act. The pieces were then taken to a foundry and melted to produce the same number of shovels engraved with a legend that told the story. The shovels were distributed to a series of art institutions and public schools where adults and children planted 1,527 trees.

Photo: Taken from

"Shovels from Pistols" has a pedagogical purpose and shows how a death agent can become an agent of life.

Pedro Reyes emphasized that "weapons spread death and suffering throughout the world, so it is crucial to make efforts to reduce the number of weapons circulating.”

The artist added that another critical task is to plant as many trees as possible since our survival depends on it.

On Saturday, September 23, Rooting of Oaks of North Lawndale project will start by planting 10 trees and placing 10 stones on the campus of Homan Square, Chicago. The event will take place at Nichols Tower, 906 S. Homan Avenue, Chicago IL.

For more information about 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennal visit the following website:

Pedro Reyes (1972, Mexico City) is a conceptual artist that has won international attention since he addresses current social and political issues through the intertwining of physical and social space. He uses sculpture, performance, video, and activism to explore both individual and collective organization.

For more information about Pedro Reyes visit his website:


Mantente al día con el boletín de El Universal