’Shishi-odoshi’ - the Bell of Peace
For IMAGINE Peace Now! I set out to create a sculpture that would be at home in an ornamental garden but centered around the (dis) charge of a handgun. I choose the form of the traditional Japanese souzu fountain, and created hand-forged steel ‘bamboo’ to contrast the machined revolver. The fountain is a visual, auditory and temporal experience. It is meant to be an object of peaceful contemplation that gives us the time to consider the new orientation of the gun infront of us.
Shishi-odoshi, when translated from Japaneses literally, means “scare deer”. It is meant to startle animals away from ornamental plantings or gardens. In the ‘bell of peace’, the gun repeatedly fills and drains creating a knocking sound, mock-firing and loading over and over. It is a futile action, the gun will never again shoot a bullet and can never fulfill its original darkest potential.
The trickling water and gentle movement is now soothing, but it never rests. The bell has become an object of peace, but a reminder that our work is not complete. Guns will always pose a threat to the safety of our families and communities as they were designed and intended to do. We must remain diligent in our efforts towards empathy, understanding and education to truly disarm gun-culture.