Sheffield knife crime - exhibition will raise awareness as more weapons are being handed in
The Knife Crime Awareness exhibition, to be held at Exchange Place Studios in Sheffield city centre from midday on February 12 will aim to open a dialogue about knife crime in the city.
It will feature the Tree of Opportunity, a sculpture made by scrap metal artist Jason Heppenstall from knives, knuckle dusters and other weapons recovered from across South Yorkshire.
Anthony Olaseinde, founder of the non-profit Always An Alternative and organiser of the exhibition, said: “I thought, I have this beautiful sculpture, what’s the best way to show it to people and start conversations? An art exhibition is a great way to raise awareness.
"There are not enough things being done for knife crime. Stabbings are increasing in Sheffield and South Yorkshire daily. Sooner or later it will happen to someone you know.”
Over the last decade, more than 1,200 people were taken to hospital after being stabbed in South Yorkshire. On Boxing Day 2021, Macaulay Byrne, known as Coley, died after he was stabbed in an attack at the Gypsy Queen pub in Beighton
Anthony will speak at the exhibition about his efforts to reduce youth violence, letters from people who have lost loved ones to knife crime will be read, and Jason will talk about his artwork.
Anthony’s book, One Knife Many Lives will be on sale at 50 per cent off for young people, and a knife amnesty bin which was recently installed in Longley will be on display.
Over the last four years Anthony has raised money to install eight knife amnesty bins in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. He said that when the first bin was installed he would collect roughly nine knives in a year, but now he can collect the same number in one visit.
He added: “People are getting stabbed a lot more because people are not getting punished enough for carrying a knife. There is no education and no deterrents in place.
“Women are killing men, men are killing women, children are killing each other. It is happening on a regional level. These events will push for changes because they are different. It will spark a new way of thinking.”
Free tickets for the event can be booked here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cutting-edge-knife-crime-awareness-art-exhibition-tickets-227611049777.