Thousands of recycled weapons tell story of violence at UN exhibit in

9 June 2010Created from 7,000 weapons that were seized around the world and decommissioned, and welded into a five-ton sculpture, a new installation outside the United Nations complex in Vienna is hoping to turn hearts and minds on the subject of violence. The Gun Sculpture is part of an exhibition entitled The Art of Peacekeeping that also includes a mural of photographs and stories of victims of war and other forms of violence and a blackboard and book where visitors can leave comments.The exhibition opened this month at the Vienna International Centre, ahead of a series of UN conferences in June focused on either security or the illicit arms trade.Artists Wallis Kendal and Sandra Bromley, who completed the sculpture a decade ago, said more than 150,000 people have already left messages on the blackboard or in the book as the artwork has toured various cities, including New York, Seoul and Ottawa.“We started in 1995 to address the issue of violence, either personal or through war lords or guerrilla action. We wanted to create something that would challenge people to stop and think, and to get them to respond with written comments,” Mr. Kendal told the UN News Centre.“It is very gratifying when you make an artwork and it provokes people to challenge the accepted way of thinking. When you see them pulling over their friends and creating a dialogue – that’s the main purpose,” Ms. Bromley said.In Seoul, the messages tended to focus on the division of the Korean Peninsula and the threat of nuclear war; in New York, local residents tended to write about street violence and domestic violence, the artists said.Mr. Kendal described the photo and story mural as “a central part of the exhibit,” depicting victims of violence that range from police officers to mothers and children.“We wanted to give people a balance, so they do not just see the sculpture as an artwork but as a catalyst that makes them respond to the suffering,” he added.Maher Nasser, Director, United Nations Information Service (UNIS), which helped bring the exhibit to Vienna, said it was raising awareness about the impact of violence and small arms.“I have seen a lot of people touch them [the guns], hold them, and feel the steel. So far, I have resisted that temptation because for me, I just cannot bring myself to hold any of those weapons. I do not want to be associated with the history of the death,” he added.The sculpture consists of 7,000 weapons ranging from small handguns to AK-47s to landmines, shells and rocket launchers impounded by police from criminal gangs or used in warfare. Each piece has been deactivated with an electric torch that destroyed the interior and one side of the firearm.“All the weapons bring a different narrative with them,” Ms. Bromley said, recalling a crate she opened from Nicaragua.“I picked up an AK-47 and literally threw it down because the grief embedded in the weapon was so strong. Some of the weapons seem to hold that, while others are more neutral.” The exhibit will be on display in Vienna until the end of July, and will then be moved to a yet undetermined location. read more

Atlantic provinces to enjoy rising growth think tank predicts in rosy outlook

An Ottawa-based think tank is predicting rising growth for all four Atlantic provinces — especially tiny P.E.I., which is expected to lead the country with 3.2 per cent growth this year.The Conference Board of Canada attributes the rosy outlook to service-sector stability and rising exports in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, while Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to record an uptick in oil production.P.E.I.’s red-hot growth is credited to a boom in residential construction following an “influx of international migrants” and higher demand for Island products. CN makes an offer for largest shipping terminal in Eastern Canada How newcomer entrepreneurs are making a difference in Atlantic Canada Halifax becoming a big fish in the ocean startup ecosystem, and it doesn’t stop there Nova Scotia food-growing startups benefit from their seaside locale “Over the next two years, the Island should outpace nearly every other province in the country when it comes to its rate of population growth. Consequently, the construction industry is set to surge this year, thanks to new housing developments on the Island,” the Conference Board said in its latest provincial outlook released Wednesday.“Add to that the impressive tourism prospects and the elevated demand for P.E.I. products boosting exports and manufacturing, and economic growth in the province should continue to outpace the Canadian average — a feat that P.E.I. has achieved every year since 2015.”The report noted the growth meant a recent surplus in the P.E.I. provincial budget, after a decade of deficits.Newfoundland is predicted to grow by 2.7 per cent this year, but the Conference Board says oil industry volatility will mean growth of only one per cent in the province in 2020.“The labour market will continue to struggle as baby boomers retire, projects come to the end of their life cycles, and workers in the service sector migrate to other provinces where their skills are in high demand,” the report says of Canada’s easternmost province.It said Nova Scotia is on the road to a stronger economy, with strong seafood exports and improved demographics after an influx of people from across Canada and internationally.The Conference Board predicts 1.6 per cent growth this year and another 2.1 per cent in 2020, up from 0.9 per cent last year.Over the next two years, (Nova Scotia) is expected to enjoy its highest economic growth in almost a decadeConference Board report “Over the next two years, the province is expected to enjoy its highest economic growth in almost a decade,” the report predicted of Nova Scotia.New Brunswick, which reported anemic growth of 0.2 per cent last year, is predicted to see growth of 1.4 per cent this year and 1.3 per cent next year.“The biggest challenge to economic growth is the province’s weak demographic profile,” the report says of New Brunswick.“Although immigration levels to the province have reached record levels, the large flow of residents to other provinces and a negative natural increase (i.e., births outnumber deaths) erase any potential gains in population.”Nationally, the Conference Board predicts 1.9 per cent growth this year, and 2.1 per cent in 2020.It predicts weaker growth in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba, but robust growth in Saskatchewan and B.C. read more