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.
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
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.
This is Colossal (December 2, 2019) Mexican Artist Pedro Reyes Molds 1,527 Guns into Shovels Used to Plant Trees
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.
Creators (Project 2013) Turning Weapons Into Instruments | Pedro Reyes 'Disarm' is in Spanish with English subtitles, honoring students who speak Spanish
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
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
Pedro Reyes Legislative Theatre Performance "Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground"
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.