The Cutting Edge: Knife Crime Awareness art exhibition launched on February 12, featuring artwork, letters written by those affected by knife crime, and weapons removed from the streets of South Yorkshire.
Anthony Olaseinde, who established the exhibition at Yorkshire Artspace on Exchange Street in the city centre, hopes that it will provide a unique way of broaching the topic of knife crime with young people in Sheffield.
Anthony said: “It’s a different way of looking at stuff. People don’t realise the severity of knife crime.
“I hope that coming out of it more people are aware of how far spread knife crime is - the key thing is that knife crime can affect absolutely anybody, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion. The name of the victim isn’t etched on each knife, it can be stuck in anybody.”
A box of some of the weapons which Anthony collected over the last three years using amnesty bins was on display, as was one of the amnesty bins. The box of weapons included dozens of knives, as well as a knuckle duster and a crossbow.
A sculpture, named the tree of opportunity, was created by Jason Heppenstall from over 300 collected weapons and is said to represent the lives saved through the act of surrendering each knife.
Anthony added: “I have never done anything like this before, I had never been to an art exhibition before - so I had to do some research. I am focusing now on researching ideas and engaging with people and involving young people.”
An event exclusively for young people aged 13-17 was held this week and those who attended will receive a free copy of Anthony’s book, One Knife Many Lives.
They had the opportunity to share their thoughts on and experiences of knife crime in South Yorkshire.
Anthony is raising money for a mobile youth club to use for outreach work at in-need communities across South Yorkshire.
So far, £2,000 of the £20,000 target has been raised, but Anthony says that if a van is donated, he would only need to raise an additional £5,000 to renovate it.