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The AK-47 is like a woman


When the news regarding Secretary Ronald Llamas and his AK-47s broke, I saw not a gun but white lace. I had made sculptures of the AK-47, casting the guns in fiberglass and then wrapping them in French lace from old wedding gowns. I gathered the textiles from different women—my mother, a neighbor’s mother, a few friends.
Cast in fiberglass, then wrapped in French lace from old wedding gowns.
When I first researched the AK-47, I read its description: low-cost, reliable, easy to maintain. I thought it strange how the attributes of a weapon are also the same ones usually reserved for women. The woman—give her a home, chores, and children, and she will adapt as age-old traditions have instinctively guided her. Like the legendary AK-47, the woman’s reliability is her best asset. Always present in times of need, first in the line of battle, it/she will spew fire and brimstone against men who are doing wrong to her men and home. This is what makes the woman so complicated. After decades of struggle and resistance to the trappings of society, she placidly consents to remain at the margins—silenced by duty, bound by affection. In the same vein, she is ostracized for her dependence, usually seen as her gender’s weakness. She is also held responsible for the failures of her children and husband—all of which somehow manifest what she could not give, such as more of her time, love, and attention. In the end, the woman is at fault. She just could not hold it all together. Llamas said he received threats to his life, hence it was necessary to keep the assault weapons in his car. I could not help but imagine these weapons as women’s bodies hidden inside his car, kept to keep the man’s mind at peace.
Guns as feminist art: Low-cost, reliable, easy to maintain - a weapon's attributes usually reserved for women.
For the rest of this essay, go to Move.PH. Nikki Luna is an artist whose work involves a visual discourse of women’s struggles and social consciousness. She is also the founder of StartArtproject, a non-profit organization providing art and therapy to women and children who are victims of wars and injustice. Her women and children advocacies are endeavors she is currently studying in-depth in her Masters in Women and Development Studies at UP Diliman.
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