Loaded Message

By repurposing second-hand firearms and ammunition, Al Farrow adopts weapons as a medium to illuminate the dark side of various forms of organized religion.
Words // Zelda Grant | June 26, 2024 | People

An accomplished sculptor in a wide variety of media, Al Farrow uses the language of a particular historical period for his work, updating the imagery and materials to make cogent observations about contemporary society. In recent years, he has used munitions — bullets, guns, hand grenades and bombs — to make 3D projects that resemble Christian reliquaries, Islamic mosques and Jewish synagogues. The artist denigrates all beliefs in his work, being mindful, respectful, discriminating, and probing toward all. His striking composite depictions of religious architectural structures are meticulously realized and perfectly scaled. Each work gives new meaning to its materials. Gun-barrel towers and domes built of bullets not only compel the viewer to consider the present, but also recall the history of conflict. The artist’s material choices may be jarring, but they also provoke awe and inspire reflection. With their division of people into saved or damned, brethren or infidels, chosen or forsaken, his mosques, cathedrals and synagogues are a reminder of how often faith has served as a justification for war;