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America’s Teddy Bear

438 foam bullets on window 1,60m x 1,40m 2018

The staggering number of school shootings* in the United States is on the rise, and so are the victims, which in recent years have mostly been children. More disturbingly, the majority of school shootings have been carried out by teenagers. The average age of the attacker in school shootings is fifteen. Under current U.S. law, an eighteen-year-old in America can purchase a military-style gun before he can legally buy a beer. Real guns, it seems, are just as easy for kids to get their hands on than toy guns.

Each foam bullet was shot into ALAS (Atelier & Art Space ) gallery’s window using a military-style-modeled toy gun. The 438 foam bullets correspond to the number of children and adults that have been shot during school shootings since 2012. The foam bullets with the names and ages of the victims represent the 138 lives lost.

Three months after the display in ALAS, America’s Teddy Bear was invited to ISOLA – Art Brut Galerie in Frankfurt, Germany.

Teddy Bear’s silhouette before performance

This time the Teddy Bear was constructed on a life performance during the Opening Night.

After only three months, the number of bullets increased. The new school shootings in the US brought the total number of bullets to 470 and the labeled ones – in reference to the number of victims –  from 138 to 156.

*A school shooting is defined by the non-for-profit organization Gun Violence Archive as an attack happening on the property of an elementary school, secondary school or college campus within school hours and extracurricular activities. The numbers are based on an analysis of the New York Times based on GVA’s data.