Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton knife crime: 'Phoenix' sculpture made from 500 knives

"Phoenix" bird sculpture Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The sculpture was created using about 500 knives which were deposited in Bedfordshire Police's knife amnesty bins

A bird sculpture made from about 500 knives has been created to "symbolise how peace can overcome violence".

The artwork, based on the mythical Phoenix, has gone on display in Luton.

The knives have come from police amnesty bins across Bedfordshire and include a large knife that was handed in by a parent after it was found in their son's bedroom.

Luke Larner, from St Mary's Church, said the sculpture aimed to provoke a conversation about knife crime.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption One of the knives used in the artwork was handed in by a parent who found it in their son's bedroom

He said the idea came from the Christian metaphor "they shall beat their swords into ploughshares" from the Bible's Book of Isaiah, which encourages people to turn their weapons of war into tools.

"As a symbol of our commitment to this ideal, we intend to address the issue of serious violence by literally turning knives into a symbol of life and nurture in the form of a sculpture," he said.

'Terrifying'

Mr Larner spent two days creating the bird with Joe Carey.

Although the knives were "terrifying", he said he "wanted to do something about knife violence and an artistic response provokes conversation".

The sculpture was revealed on the steps of Luton Town Hall and will be taken around the town and used to educate young people.

The Phoenix rose from the flames in Greek mythology and features in folklore in many other cultures.

The sculpture was unveiled on a day a 15-year-old boy was left fighting for his life after being stabbed more than 20 times in Preston Gardens in Luton.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption A 15-year-old boy was stabbed more than 20 times at about 02:10 BST

A peace vigil has also also been held at The Mall shopping centre where a knife fight took place in January 2018.

Mr Larner said he was forced to take action as he has lost two friends to knife crime and said it can "happen to anybody."

"It's a complex issue and the wider issues need to be addressed," he added.

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