Internationally-renowned Dundee-educated artist Frank To has been asked to speak at COP26 about his work to help combat global gun violence – and the potential benefit of upcycling guns.
Since last year, the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design graduate has been using a special limited edition pen made from humanium metal – an alloy made from illegal firearms – which has been highlighting how creativity can be used to promote world peace.
It’s part of a collaboration with IM Swedish Development Partner and Stockholm-based sustainable and social impact start-up A Good Company.
Now Frank has been asked to speak to UK parliament, Scottish Parliament and UN delegates at an OpenUK Open Technology for Sustainability Day, taking place at the COP26 conference in Glasgow on Thursday November 11.
Upcycling of guns
Frank told The Courier: “I will be presenting and demonstrating the humanium metal in Skypark Glasgow within the security cordon of the UN climate change conference on November 11.
“I have been invited by OpenUK to demonstrate the application of the humanium metal in colour form to members of both UK and Scottish Parliaments as well as UN delegates.
“I will be representing IM Swedish Development partner as their humanium metal ambassador.
“I have recently managed to combine the alloy into a soft pastel of which has been used for international art projects within developing countries affected by illegal gun violence such as El Salvador.
“The reason I’ve been asked to demonstrate the humanium metal project is to highlight the potential benefit of upcycling guns instead of disposing them in land fill which are potential harmful to the environment.
“Furthermore, the process I am undertaking in creating these pastels are of the traditional methods of which is handmade and I was taught this at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.
“The process is helpful towards the environment.
“Furthermore I think I’m the only artist physically doing anything art related within the designated zone which is the heart of COP26.”
Tackling armed violence
Anders Ankarlid, CEO and founder of Stockholm-based sustainable and social impact start-up A Good Company, told previously how the humanium pen projects’ long-term aim is to tackle armed violence and to return proceeds back to communities affected by it.
Every day, more than 2000 people are wounded by one of the 875 million small arms currently in global circulation. Millions more are produced each year.
In an effort to combat this horrific development, A Good Humanium Metal Pen – the first of its kind – was made from upcycled illegal firearms from El Salvador.
Since its inception in 2016, the humanium metal initiative has carried out work in countries like El Salvador.
It has won numerous awards and garnered praise and support from internationally renowned peace advocates such as the Dalai Lama and Hans Blix.
A Good Humanium Metal Pen supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16, which aims to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.
The support for the SDG16 is materialized in the project ambition which is to take a symbol of violence and turn it into a peaceful commodity, hopefully used for signing treaties of peace and environmental cooperation.
OpenUK’s COP26 event on Thursday will cover a range of topics around how open technology can promote sustainability, enabling organisations to collaborate to drive more efficiency.
The focus of the day will be on how both the data centre sector and the energy and utility industries are supporting more energy efficient approaches for businesses, through their use of open technologies and more collaboration around data.