Colombian sculptor, Doris Salcedo, has unveiled her latest work – a monument to mark the end of the guerrilla war which has racked Colombia for just over 50 years. The unconventional peace monument, entitled Fragmentos (Fragments), uses the scrap metal reclaimed from the thousands of small arms handed over by FARC rebels following the peace treaty signed in 2016. The monument is a floor made up of over 1,000 tiles made from the scrapped weapons.
The treaty set out that rebel weapons would be handed over to United Nations inspectors, they would then be melted down and the scrap used to build three monuments. One at the UN’s headquarters in New York, another in Havana, Cuba where the treaty was signed and a final treaty in Colombia’s captial Bogotá.
The conflict in Colombia is estimated to have left 260,000 dead and nearly 7 million displaced with most of the victims civilians caught in the middle of the fighting. Salcedo says the floor is an anti-monument, explaining “It is wrong to make a monument, a conventional monument, with arms. A conventional monument… is usually a vertical piece placed on a pedestal that we should all look up [to]. So I thought arms do not deserve to be there.”
37 tons of metal were used to create a total of 1,300 floor tiles, each weighing 100 pounds and each representing dozens of weapons. The tiles were made by female victims of FARC, they beat the tiles into shape with hammers. Back in 2017 the UN reported that 7,132 weapons had been handed over and secured. Salcedo told the media that “the fact that these guns have been destroyed means that many, many lives have been saved.”