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EXPLORE: Pedro Reyes

Note to Teachers: 
Content that may be challenging or too mature for younger viewers is marked with an asterisk (*). Please scan all material to determine whether it is appropriate for your students. 

 “I am always working in two fields. Participation is a material for me."

Studio Visit: Pedro Reyes on Mexico, Music and Neoliberalism. ( April 24,2018). Elephant
Pedro Reyes is an architect , sculptor, book lover, and social activist. He views audience interaction and participation as an artistic medium. His works include repurposing weapons for peaceful purposes, cooking and distributing sustainable food sourced from insects, puppet plays and other video, stone carving including stone instruments and interactive group projects and theatrical events. Recent work features sculpture and drawing using traditional, pre-Columbian language and forms.
Pedro Reyes People's United Nations (pUN).png
Social Media




Selected Websites and Video

Pedro Reyes on Art 21Several Art 21 Videos feature Reyes' work, home and projects with his wife, fashion designer Carla Fernandez

An archive of Reyes' work from 2000-2013


Reconfiguring Weapons

Palas de Pistolas was a weapon exchange program where 1,527 weapons were collected in Culiacan , Mexico in exchange for coupon for shopping at a local store. The weapons were crushed, melted down and made into 1,527 shovels used to plant 1527 trees around the world The project included working with elementary aged children to plant the trees.



  • Disarm

Disarm is a project where weapons collected by the Mexican military are repurposed to make musical instruments. Working with a team of musicians and this new media studio Cocolab, Reyes takes weapons and creates musical instruments and music.



Disarm II  (Return to Sender)  transforms weapons into music boxes that play short selections of music by composers from the countries the guns were produced in. Vernissage TV (July 24, 2020) Pedro Reyes. Return to Sender / Museum Tinguely, Basel



  • Tlali  (Earth)

A 2021 show titled Tlali or “Earth” in Nahuatl uses drawing, and sculpture referring to Mesoamerican typograph to establish histories before European invasions.





Selected Audience Action Projects

       A group project for those who are concerned about gun violence




Topics for further inquiry

Clothing Design with Carla Fernandez

Wife and husband Carla Fernandez and Pedro Reyes work together in design and social action projects. Ms Fernandez is an internationally recognized designer who uses indigenous fiber techniques  like hand looming, dyeing in mud, or felting to make high end fashion.


Theater: Augusto Boal (1931-2009)  

The writings of Augusto Boal informed  Pedro Reyes’ philosophy on  artmaking and inspired his  works that depend on viewer participation . Boal was a Brazilian theatre director who initiated and practiced a form of theatre where the audience became the active players in a theatrical production rather than passive viewers. His Theatre of the Oppressed was a way that those impoverished or oppressed could tell their own stories,  make political statements, and work for social changes. 


Boal, A. (1994). The Rainbow of Desire: The Boal Method of Theatre and Therapy (1st ed.). Routledge.


Boal, A. (2002). Games for Actors and Non-Actors (2nd ed.). Routledge.


Other lenses/themes to discuss the work of Pedro Reyes:

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