This project focuses on documenting, through art, the trials and tribulations of Canadian soldiers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hand Grenades

I have to admit I have a deep-seated fondness for the common hand grenade. Even its name and history evoke a sense of wonder and awe. It was the French in the 1590's who devised the first of these little beauties and dubbed them "pomegranate" or "pomegrenate" from which "grenade" is derived from. If you believe Wiki then its the pomegranate's shape and seeding (or in the case of a grenade, shrapnel) that brought about the naming.

Don't get me wrong, as a means of killing, maiming and otherwise disposing of somebody, the hand grenade is a wicked and cruel device. Its indiscriminate and has a nasty habit of biting its handlers. Still, the boy inside me laughed with glee the first time I tossed a hand grenade some 25 years ago, during my basic training. I've tossed many since (high, low, short and long) and there still resides a sense of awe and respect for the devices. Design wise, they are simple, perfectly ergonomic and almost Apple like in their clean lines. Unlike other soldier tools, the grenade is very un-complicated and for the most part unchanged over the last 100 years: pull pin, throw and 3-5 seconds later, kaboom! As a tool for the infantry, they are indisputable in their value on the battlefield. Alleyways, rooms and holes are all sanitized by first tossing in a grenade. But as mentioned, the hand grenade cannot tell the difference between friend, foe or a small child and its for that reason that soldiers are so restrictive on their use.

Useful, wicked and beautiful. It was these attributes that attracted me to the idea of doing a series on the hand grenade. My intent is to treat each version with a different medium and allow the mediums to empower the attributes. Broken tile and pottery, neon lights and collage are a few ideas pinging around in my head. And they have to be big. Real big.