There’s a 25-foot tall angel made out of confiscated knives that presides over a sombre yard at the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire, UK. And it’s a reminder at just how dangerous knives and violent knife attacks can be.
The sculpture is the brainchild of British artist Alfie Bradley. He’s been working with metal all of his life and this statue was born out of a pretty important campaign that the UK government ran in 2015/16 called “Save a Life, Surrender your Knife” where citizens were asked to anonymously surrender their knives. Bradley was then commissioned to create a “Knife Angel” from the surrendered weapons.
In 2016, a knife or blade was used every 16 minutes in the UK. According to the police reports, there were a total of 27,487 offences using a knife or a sharp instrument. Of those, 188 were homicides, and 2,300 were victims under the age of 18.
So it was a pretty important campaign, that needed an even more important symbol.
Over the following 18 months, he built this 7-10 ton sculpture from the knives that were confiscated/donated to the campaign.
He used a total of 100,000 knives. Most of them were simply objects that were handed in during the knife amnesty, but many were from actual stabbing and murder cases. He had to clean those of biological material before he could use them.
Many of the blades and handles are engraved with the names of people who have suffered and died due to knife crime.
The plan was that the statue was going to be placed at Trafalgar square, but at the moment it’s still at the metalworks, waiting for its permanent resting place.
Alfie hopes that it affects both side of the knife – the victims and the perpetrators, and have people understand the dangers of carrying a knife and using it for violence.
Overall, this serene angel built from objects that could cause violence is a startling statement against violence and the hope is that it can serve as a reminder for everyone to be kind to one another.
Not being dicks to each other is totally in our hands.