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Paper's machine gun article turned into £7k artwork

Turner Prize-nominee and Hollywood director Sam Taylor-Johnson has turned an article written by Archant London’s Ham&High into her latest artwork – and it has been valued by Bonhams at £7,000.

The award-winning artist, who is in the middle of directing an adaptation of best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey, framed a copy of a Ham&High web news report for an exhibition curated by Jake Chapman of the Chapman Brothers.

The framed article, which was on display at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in The Mall, featured a report of armed police swarming outside the artist’s home in Primrose Hill when an ex-Iranian soldier and passing dog walker spotted an M16 machine gun lying on a table through her basement window.

The incident in August, which later made headlines around the world, sparked alarm and saw her leafy residential street swamped with police brandishing their own machine guns.

But the weapon was later found by officers to be a decommissioned rifle intended to be part of a peace charity’s art exhibition and auction.

Peace One Day had given machine guns to a number of prominent artists with the idea of turning “objects of war to use in support of peace”.

With Mrs Taylor-Johnson’s as-yet untransformed piece of art gathering more media attention for the charity than any piece was likely to, she instead chose as her submission a framed copy of the Ham&High’s article printed on fine art paper.

Entitled simply No Comment, and valued by Bonhams at between £5,000 and £7,000, it went on display at the ICA, alongside M16s decorated and transformed by artists including model Kate Moss, painter Peter Doig, and the Chapman Brothers.

Harry Shawyer, of Peace One Day, said: “We had an inkling Sam would be submitting something to do with the news story but we weren’t sure. It’s a very interesting and humorous piece, different to what all the other artists have submitted. Sam has obviously used the Ham&High article to tell the story of what happened.

“It was well received and in the end the whole incident gave the charity a great deal of positive coverage.”

Jeremy Gilley, actor and founder of Peace One Day, also celebrated the piece, noting how it “immortalises the moment her involvement with [the project] made headline news”.

An auction of the artwork, including Mrs Taylor-Johnson’s, will take place in January.

Money raised will go towards to the charity’s education projects, promoting peace and non-violence.