Ralph Ziman, ‘Murarabungu Chigawaga 4 "My Machine Gun" (Shona) ’, 2013, Sulger-Buel Lovell

Ziman created the multi faceted body of work Ghosts as a direct response to an examination of the international arms trade, specifically on the African continent where the AK-47 has proliferated widely, fuelling and sustaining the conflict across the continent. Ziman collaborated with six Zimbabwean artists to create hundreds of faux brightly beaded AK-47’s and ammunition out of wire and traditional glass beads. The resulting photographs created highly alluring, aesthetically dramatic and unsettling compositions; a subversion of the stereotypical visual perception. The figures ‘perform power’; evoked through narratives embedded in the symbolic exchange between man and object. They assume domineering gestural behaviors, while the brightly beaded ‘guns’ and multi-coloured faceless body suits, create a strangely beautiful fashion editorial.“Shocking, beautiful and sad”.

About Ralph Ziman

South African, b. 1963, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, based in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, CA, United States