An artist created 2,000 colorful paper guns to challenge perceptions of gun culture

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Chinese artist Li Hongbo, famous for his seemingly classical busts that bend surprisingly into wavy shapes like accordions, is showcasing a more colorful selection of work this summer. He’s created 2,000 paper weapons for a polychromatic exhibit called “Ocean of Flowers” at Beijing’s Eight One Art Museum.

The weapons, which include handguns, AK-47 assault rifles, and bullets, are unfurled like flowers and laid out across the entire span of the exhibition hall. They don’t look like representations of things designed to kill—until you look more closely. His goal is to challenge cultural perceptions of war and destruction.

“I produced this artwork, because, after all, there is still military competition, war, and fear in this world,” said Li. “I wonder if my work could make people let go of these obsessions in their mind, and pursue a kind of true peace, a truly beautiful world for mankind without any disputes.”

Li’s sculptures are made from hundreds of sheets of paper glued together. One block is made of 500 sheets, and one bust typically requires 10 blocks. He then dons a protective face mask as he cuts, chisels, and sands the blocks down into his now-famous figures.

The paper-gun exhibit runs until July 20. Watch the video above to see what it looks like.