Art Installation Provokes Dialogue about Guns

Posted: March 27, 2013 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: March 28, 2013 at 7:22 am

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By Catherine Probst

"The Incident" by Viktor Mitic. Photo by John Drajewicz

“The Incident” by Viktor Mitic. Photo by John Drajewicz

An outspoken gun control activist who is military-trained in the use of ammunition, renowned Canadian artist Viktor Mitic created “The Incident” using 6,000 bullets from a semi-automatic weapon.

George Mason University’s School of Art welcomes Mitic and his thought-provoking work for a three-day showing near the Art and Design Building on the Fairfax Campus.

“The Incident” will be on display on Monday, April 8, from noon to 5 p.m.; on Tuesday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Wednesday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to noon. The entire Mason community is invited to attend.

Hosted by Helen Frederick, professor of printmaking in the School of Art, Mitic will open the art showing with a discussion about his school bus piece and the process that led to its creation. The artwork was first displayed at the Toronto International Art Fair in September 2012.

According to Frederick, Mitic hopes through his art to send a vivid message about the issues that plague society regarding the use of guns and the dangers of access to guns in everyday life, as well as the importance of proper gun control and restrictions. After the December 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 students and six teachers were killed, Mitic became even more motivated to use guns as a form of artwork.

“Mr. Mitic’s artwork provides an important and relevant project for our students, and I am confident that his discussion with our students will spark a dialogue about the gun control bills now in Congress,” says Frederick.

“The terrible impact of so many lost lives that we currently face in the U.S. in our schools and other communities has naturally greatly affected our students. They will find the chance to express themselves in viewing the bus, as a timely and moving reality.”

A University of Toronto graduate, Mitic has produced a major body of work that spans a career of more than two decades. He has integrated materials such as charcoal, graphite, oil, acrylic, watercolor, pen and ink and Japanese traditional natural pigment into some of his recent works.

Mitic was moved by the destruction of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan – two monumental statues of standing Buddha created in Afghanistan in the sixth century – by the Taliban in March 2011. Using a symbol of the 21st century – a gun – as his method of creation, Mitic painted portraits of celebrities and religious figures onto canvas and then used more than one million rounds of ammunition and various guns to outline them. The project culminated in a show, documentary film and a book titled “Art or War.”

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at ckearney@gmu.edu

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