HOFA Gallery proudly presents The Art to Disarm, a solo exhibition by British artist and documentary photographer Bran Symondson. This will be his first solo show in the UK since 2011 and the only time he has brought together works across his diverse oeuvre. It offers a unique chance to consider his practice in its entirety. The exhibition takes a timely look back on his personal experiences of Afghanistan both as a member of the British Army Special Forces in 2008 and as a photographer embedded with the Afghan National Police in 2010. It includes personal memorabilia from Symondson’s time in the army and photographs he shot during the period, alongside pieces demonstrating the evolution of his practice as a sculptor. The recent fall of Afghanistan inspired him to revisit his archive, create new works and present this reflexive and poignant exhibition.
Using ethically sourced butterflies and emotive site-specific objects that hark back to his experiences of place and conflict, Symondson creates stunning pieces with decommissioned AK-47s as the canvas. Initially known for his reportage photography that appeared in The Sunday Times and GQ, his creative output has developed far beyond this with the AK-47 sculptures being collected globally by the likes of highly acclaimed artist Jake Chapman, Elton John and the Prince of Bahrain. Symondson’s unique artworks derive from a simple premise: taking something of fear and loathing and turning it into something of beauty and intrigue.