Bran Symondson is one artist whose commitment to peace through art is unmistakable.
This ex-special forces soldier and reportage photographer was born in London in 1971. He creates striking artwork repudiating violence and advocating for peace. His AK-47 art pieces, which are coveted by celebrities, politicians and monarchs around the world, have assumed great relevance during Remembrance Day commemorations, especially, following the collaborative AKA Peace Exhibition of 2012 which he initiated and participated in.
His art is dedicated to wresting peace and beauty from the grips of fear and violence. This commitment is very much about optimism. How he feeds his optimism and how he would encourage others to do the same, he answers as followed:
“I am deeply committed to hope and optimism. I think in every ugly or violent situation, there’s always a moment of beauty unspoiled by the ugliness. This was my experience in Afghanistan when we (myself and other soldiers) were in conflict zones. There were these moments when we were just surrounded by natural beauty – flowering opium poppies, blossoming pomegranate trees and the sound of a trickling stream. These little beautiful moments fed my optimism. It was like I could almost always see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Besides the beauty of nature, my optimism also feeds off the people around me, listening to them and how they’ve dealt with situations in their lives, the pain and struggles they’ve gone through and overcome. It’s all part of life’s journey and you need to give yourself hope and optimism just to survive day-to-day sometimes. I think there’s an overload of reports of grief and doom and gloom around the world, and we need moments like these to give us a break from all the bullshit and crap we are fed.
There are a lot of profound quotes out there, but one struck a chord some years ago. I was in Barbados and I saw something written on a wall. I then subsequently used it as the name for one of my environmental artworks and that is – ‘For everything to change we need everyone’. It is one of my favourite peace quotes because it applies to how we can save the environment and how we can work together to secure and build peace.”
© Bran Symondson/THE HOUSE OF FINE ART
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