By Amanda Coppa
While most artists stick to familiar items such as paint, canvas, and clay, Lin Evola has added a highly unusual item to the materials she works with: weapons of mass destruction. Or more precisely, what’s left of weapons after they have been dismantled and destroyed. As part of a unique project called the Peace Angels Project, Evola transforms the pieces of what were once deadly and feared items into sculptures of angelic figures that represent the potential of human beings to rise above violence and construct peaceful alternatives.
Evola created the first Peace Angel in 1997 and presented it to President Bill Clinton as a limited edition. As she developed more techniques to create the angels, her sculptures started to increase in size. By the late 1990s, the artist had created a piece that was approximately 13 feet tall, and this beautiful sculpture was placed in Los Angeles. In 2001, after the terrorist attacks in New York, Evola knew that in an area that was filled with anger and rage, a reminder of peace was necessary. The Peace Angel from Los Angeles made its way to Ground Zero, where it sat for one year as an icon of peace. The figure stood on a large concrete base, where Evola decided to sign her name with a black marker. Following her signature came signatures from civilians, law enforcement, and workers at Ground Zero. This Angel is currently part of the Sept. 11th permanent collection and will soon be displayed in the Sept. 11th memorial and museum in New York City.
The Peace Angels Project consists of sculptures molded into figures of angels. Each sculpture is made of melted metal from weapons and ammunition from across the world. This project will receive legal and non-legal weapons of mass destruction, from a needle to a hairpin to a gun, AK47, machine guns, decommissioned nuclear weapon, and anything in between. These weapons are all received by military, politicians, and civilians from all over the world. In the United States, 12,000 weapons have already been destroyed that will be melted down for this project.
Evola felt that New York, like Los Angeles, is one of the greatest and most influential cities in the world. Both cities attract people from all over the world, where they oftentimes live side by side. With a love and respect for both cities, Evola has embarked on a project to build two Peace Angel monuments, one in each city. Each monument will be 64ft. tall, roughly 6 stories tall, with a cost of $64 million each. Peace Angels will be made with high grade stainless weaponry. Each monument will include the ideal of the Peace Angel and 36 Humanitarians at life size, who have done extreme good at this time in history. The labyrinth below the sculpture will be created primarily from melted guns. The outside edge will be laid with bricks created from gun metal, each with an engraved name of those who support peace while inside that group will be bricks with names of those whom we have lost. The walking over guns will symbolize the power people have over guns. Guns are not what harm this Earth, but rather the people who possess them that inflict the ultimate harm.
Evola will go around visiting embassies, gaining respect of each city as an artist and bringing awareness to the issue of misuse of weapons, through her project. IANSA will partner with this project globally. Evola will meet with government officials, law enforcement, and many others to request weapons to melt down to be used in her project. The artist and her team use 10 different companies, including historical art production and cutting edge technology to create the monuments in New York and Los Angeles. An expected end date has not been provided yet, but is estimated at 5 years.
The Peace Angels Project is more than an art project; it is a project that brings awareness to the harm caused by weapons. In a world filled with hate, rage, and a competition for the best and strongest military, the Peace Angels Project will be a light shining in remembrance to those lives lost to violence and a reminder that where, in the artist’s words, “peace is promoted, violence cannot exist”. Evola focuses her art on the value of human life as a showcase that everyone has a right to live. For more information about Evola’s art work and the Peace Angels Project, please go to http://peaceangels.com/. No weapon has more worth than a human life and no person has the right to shatter one’s right to live by a simple pull of a trigger.
Amanda Coppa - firstname.lastname@example.org