Cesar Lopez is a classically trained musician. For years, he heard more gun fire than music as the decades old war battered his country. In 2003, he witnessed the bombing of a nightclub while his group was playing music in the street nearby. After that incident, he knew that he had to do something to change his world and change perspectives. His idea is original and incredibly powerful.
He transforms the machines of war: rifles, AK-47s, and so forth into wonderful musical instruments. Lopez gets guns from the government’s anti-land mine group. They are brought to his apartment. The firing mechanism is removed. Then he works on them with the help of a guitar maker, transforming them from killing machines to guitars. Twelve guns have been turned into guitars thus far. According to Lopez, “…the main idea is that weapons can be changed from an object of destructiveness to an object of constructiveness.”
Turning guns into guitars is just one part of Lopez’s work. One group he belongs to is called “Battalion of Immediate Artistic Reaction”. Whenever a battle breaks out in Bogota, they take to the streets and serenade the people. The other group, “Experimental Reconciliation Group”, is a mishmash of political adversaries. By bringing together people from the left, right, and anywhere in between, they hope to show that people can get along even with diverse views.
The reaction to his guitars has mostly been positive. Some are leery that a weapon of violence can be transformed into one of music. Lopez hopes his work will change their minds and change his country in the process.