knife angel – is it effective
I went to stare into the face of knife angel today, it was positioned in the centre of Birmingham not far from the entrance to the Birmingham art gallery and museum. Its scale at 27 feet and consisting of 100,000 blades is impressive, as a piece of artwork, it is difficult to dispute its beauty, its large size stands against its setting and draws the viewer to it and in this sense it is successful.
The fact that it is composed of blades that have been collected during a knife amnesty do make it an effective piece for those looking on and considering the effect that knife crime has on their community. Many of the blades have been engraved with messages to loved ones, that have been killed by knives, but these tributes are not obvious to the casual observer. it is however a poignant reminder of the crisis that knife crime has become across our country and as such it may be a comfort to the friends and families of the victims of these crimes
But how does knife angel reach out to those most likely to be involved with knife crime ?As good intentioned as this sculpture is, the demographic most affected by this issue is unlikely to stand and contemplate the many issues, that influence their opinions and their decisions to carry a knife, so what would be more effective?
Would visiting an accident and emergency dept or the mortuary on a Saturday night, to see the raw effects of knife crime have enough of an effect, but that also misses the point completely, as most of these youngsters fear an attack and so that is the very reason that they are carrying a blade in the first place, in parts of the community where an individual feels insecure to leave home without ‘protection’, we need to address the issues that lead to the situation and it is unlikely that any form of sculpture is going to achieve this, so what would?
It is difficult and complex and now so ingrained into some of our communities, that it is going to take a multifaceted approach to even begin to tackle the problem. residents need to feel safe in their communities, youngsters need safe spaces to play, with positive role models from their own areas, we need programs to strengthen community bonds, youth workers and artists to engage communities in healing themselves, giving them a sense of pride in themselves and the areas in which they live.
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