Southside artist defies USA gun violence with gunpowder art

They say that artists can be individuals who can change the mindset of society with their art.

This certainly seems to be true with Frank To, the Glasgow Southside artist with a growing international reputation as a leading contemporary painter.

Although created for the Glasgow Contemporary Art Fair, To’s new large gunpowder art is a way for him to make an international stance speaking out against gun violence in the USA.

Gun violence has been on the rise in the US for several years especially in the wake of the mass school shootings such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida this year. Although mass student demonstrations such as March for Our Lives have called for tighter gun controls, it has been publicly ignored by US President, Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association.

To said that his new gunpowder art is inspired by his Chinese cultural heritage which the substance known for its destructive capabilities was originally created to maintain life.

He continued: “Gunpowder originally was created by Chinese alchemists in the 9th century as a substance for immortality. It was known as fire medicine. Once they knew its potential, it become the weapon to what we know of today.

“The current work is also a response to the recent gun violence in the US. I support March for Our Lives movement whole heartedly which calls for tighter gun control. As a pacifist, I feel compiled to respond to this.

“In this new work, I’m turning the substance that is used to kill into a medium that can create. I am using gunpowder what it was originally invented for – to create life or in this case, making art work that is everlasting. I am hoping that they will be enough visually to get the attention of the people who can make a difference to the gun violence issues in the US.”

Frank To will be represented by Gallery Q at the Glasgow Contemporary Art Fair, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle St from May 11 – 13.

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