Image © Sean Sutton, MAG
There have been an estimated 75,000,000 AK47s made since it came into service in 1947. It is inexpensive to manufacture, highly reliable, relatively compact and is probably the most effective killing machine ever invented. It is the most commonly smuggled small arms sold to Governments, rebels, criminals and civilians alike around the world and has been the cause of terrible acts of social control, racial and ethnic prejudice and punitiveness against millions of people.
McCrow recently travelled to minefields in Battambang, Cambodia with UK-based international NGO, MAG (Mines Advisory Group). Here, he documented how the charity helps local communities by removing the remnants of conflict, posing obstacles to reconstruction and development.
The stories McCrow uncovers through his art tell of the continuous struggle people face from small arms, mines and other unexploded ordnance strewn across miles of countryside. By taking these weapons out of action, a region’s dark past can begin to turn into a brighter future for those who continue to live and work there.
The programmes McCrow is involved with include MAG, International Anti-Poaching Foundation, Project AK47 and War Child. They represent far more than a source or recipient of help, there’s a sense of shared values; a commitment to going to the places where the weapons are; and a desire to share – in their own ways – the unique, human stories from areas of conflict the world rarely hears.
McCrow is also working on a short film and photographic book to document recent trips to some of the world’s most war torn areas and a percentage of the sale of artworks are donated to these organisations in a bid to support their invaluable and life saving work.
Every artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity and unique number to confirm that the weapon has been decommissioned to British Standards and can no longer be used.