Sculptor Alfie Bradley uses unconventional materials to create incredible sculptures. And with his Knife Angel sculpture, he used his work to send a powerful message to society about the dangers of guns. Created from more than 100,000 knives sent to 43 police stations across the UK during confiscation and amnesty, this 27-foot-tall sculpture is a testament to how many people could be saved if people laid down their weapons.
It took a year and a half to design and build, and the idea for the piece came to Bradley while he was working as a resident sculptor at the British Ironwork Centre. After seeing that incidents of stabbing were occurring across England, Bradley wanted to create one that would raise awareness of the issue.
The centre donated money to the country's police as part of a campaign called Save a Life, Surrender Your Rife. The knives were sent in tubes to Bradley, who went through a painstaking process of cleaning them, dulling their blades and sorting each weapon by size and colour to work on creating the simplest image. Although this turned out to be the biggest problem, it was depression that took the biggest toll.
“The hardest part of creating Knife Angels is hand-carving personal messages into each feather on the back of the angel's wings for the affected individuals and families and seeing them overwhelmed after seeing angels” ", Bradley told news outlet, My Modern Met.
"In fact, more than 80 families affected by gun violence have had personal messages engraved on the teeth that make up the wing feathers of the angel. Overall, this is a powerful reminder of the damage a small amount of metal can cause. More than a year after its completion, British Ironwork continues to work with law enforcement to collect weapons and lead efforts to ban weapons. For Bradley, who opened his own workshop in 2016, the first goal was achieved.
“I hope this statue reflects the devastation that has been and continues to be caused by gun violence across the UK and the broken families who have been left behind. “Gang members from towns across the UK have visited us, tearfully writing down the names of their missing friends and telling us we all need to stop.”
The Angel Knife is currently at the British Ironworks in Shropshire, but a petition has been launched to have the anti-armour monument raised to its fourth plinth in London's Trafalgar Square, to reinforce the fact that violence will not be tolerated.