porto novo/green pistol/green pistol

the two handguns I brought to benin were meant as a commentary on the widespread preconception of africa as being a dangerous continent,
rife with violence and lawlessness.
obviously I did not hope for what I see as uninformed prejudice to prove true,
but fact can sometimes be stranger than fiction.
the stories of the two guns played out very differently, although both were a hard sell, even at 1000 francs cfa, about 1 dollar.
the green pistol actually did not sell at all, so I decided to donate it to the ethnographic museum of porto novo.
the museum is housed in a beautiful afro-brazilian villa, its pleasant grounds are adorned by a group of big frangipani trees.
when I took the mandatory guided tour, the window shutters of each room we passed through were opened, so I could better see the collection of dusty statues they hold.  needless to say, photography was not permitted.
on my three visits to the museum I have not encountered another visitor, but an impressive number of doormen, tellers, guides and guards.
the conservateur seemed delighted to accept my donation of the pistol, we put it in writing and a date for the photo shoot was sceduled. the pictures were supposed to be taken by Ishola Àkpo, because Jens Preusse had already returned to austria.
I can only guess what went on inside of the conservateur´s head, but when we showed up, fear and suspicion apparently had gotten the better of him and he refused to keep his promises, not letting us take photos of the gun in his office, let alone in the museum, first agreeing to have his photo taken and then refusing a minute later. the situation was bordering on the comical but turned nasty when he verbally and physically assaulted the photographer, trying to wrestle the camera from him because he did not agree with the choice of motif, a pineapple and fallen leaves in the museum garden. the final shot was fired when he accused Ishola of being an artist, not a photographer. we had to leave it there

photos in this series:
son of a gun and afro brazil by Ishola Àkpo http://www.isholaakpo.com
frangipani, soundtrack and handstand by Matthias Kaiser
green pistol by Jens Preusse

the pistol is made from austrian stoneware clay with green and red engobes.
there is no glaze, but the surface of the gun has been polished.
the bullet is hand formed from the same clay, but glazed and finshed with platinum luster.
a toy gun has been cast in plaster and with the help of the mold a ceramic replica was made