Exhibition 'The Etiquette of the Arms Trade: Ten Years Drawing in Arms Fairs' in The Peace Museum
The UK government has approved weapon sales to two thirds of the countries on its own list of human rights abusers. Sales of bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia have soared since the start of the Yemen War, where hundreds of children and thousands of civilians have been killed in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition. How are such sales legitimised?
For the past ten years Jill Gibbon has visited arms fairs in Europe and the Middle East, by masquerading as an arms trader with a suit, paste pearls, and a sham business. Once inside, she draws and collects complementary gifts. Here, weapons glimmer under spotlights, waiting staff hover with champagne, beer, and pretzels, and a string quartet plays Mozart on the back of a military truck. The exhibition explores the etiquette of the arms trade through drawings, gifts, and elements of her masquerade.