The award-winning Art the Arms Fair returns to London. Running until 17th September, the exhibition will coincide with the Defense and Security International (DSEI) arms fair being held at the ExCel Centre.
Art the Arms Fair intends to expose the DSEI arms fair, which is held with the support of the UK Government in London every two years. One of the world’s largest arms fairs, DSEI opens its doors for one reason only – to push for as many arms sales as possible, including to official delegations from countries with poor human rights records and those involved in conflict. Hosting DSEI in London comes as a particular blow after Sadiq Khan’s recent statement opposing it, and in the wake of London’s pledge to house up to 5,000 Afghan refugees.
Ksenya Blokhina, the organiser of this year’s Art the Arms Fair, said:
“Most Londoners don’t know that their city plays host to arms dealers or facilitates weapon deals with very real consequences. As the UK welcomes refugees fleeing Afghanistan, Art the Arms Fair aims to harness the power of art to tell the story of the arms trade and its effects on people around the world.”
As the ExCel Centre throws open its doors again to sell weapons, ammunition and tanks, Art the Arms Fair will set up shop across the city in Mayfair selling editions and products by a roster of British and refugee artists, which makes visible the human impact of the UK’s involvement in the arms trade. For the first time Art the Arms Fair will partner with Art Represent, a non-profit dedicated to empowering displaced artists around the world. The three artists from Art Represent participating in this year’s exhibition include Azim Fakhri, also known as Kabul Knight, whose work responds to the recent atrocities in Afghanistan.
“The glamourisation of weapons makes it feel as if these tools of destruction have nothing to do with the consequences of conflict. The refugees we dehumanise, the extinguished soul of an innocent child, and the lasting legacy of war are costs not taken into account by the financial projections of the arms trade. We here in the West do not have the luxury of not caring, because we were once in the pit of a bomb, and we can be just as easily again.”
Baiqu Gonkar, Art Represent’s founder
Art the Arms Fair boutique will be opening its doors at 50 Brook St W1K 5DR on September 11th -17th, from 12-8pm
Art Represent is a non-profit enterprise dedicated to empowering displaced artists around the world. We believe that by connecting these artists to a wider audience, we can bring to light the complex human experience that connects and divides. Art Represent was founded in 2015 with the launch for Malina Suliman’s first solo exhibition in London. Since then, Art Represent has staged exhibitions and talks across the UK, as well as in Turin (Italy), New York (USA), Lhasa (Tibet), and Kiev (Ukraine). Visit their website to find out more: artrepresent.com/
The first Art the Arms Fair event took place in 2017. It was widely acclaimed, winning the Observer and Nesta New Radicals Award. It included an original art piece produced by Banksy, Civilian Drone Strike, which sold for £205,000 in aid of Campaign Against the Arms Trade and Reprieve. Art from Art the Arms Fair boutique 2021 will be sold to support the work of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).
More information about Art the Arms Fair can be found at artthearmsfair.com.