Juggernaut, a relentless destroying force, a literal or metaphorical force regarded as unstoppable that will crush all in its path.
In Rudyard Kiplings book Kim (1901) the author makes mention of Zam-Zammah, an ancient cannon that stands outside the museum in Lahore.
Kim, the protagonist of the book, an orphaned British boy, sits on top the gun and teases his friends as they attempt climb on.
'All the Mussalmans fell of Zam Zammah a long time ago', sings out Kim to one, a muslim, and then to the other, a Hindu merchants son, ‘the Hindus fell of Zam Zammah too. The Mussalmans pushed them off '.
Zam-Zammah was cast in Lahore in 1757 by Shah Nazir at the order of the Afghan king Ahmed Shah Abdali. It was the biggest piece of artillery ever built and became, over centuries, the stuff of legend. After the partition of the country in 1947, Lahore, home to Zam Zammah since 1870, became a province of Pakistan and the mighty gun, languishing outside the city museum, was gently bleached from collective memory.
The old gun, illuminated in the light of Kim’s teasing, is taken by the artist as a point of departure into a conversation on war. Zam Zammah is ressurected and its austere design is testimony to an ideal of modernity prevalent at the moment the two countries, India and Pakistan, were born.
In his ongoing series of paintings (titled Disasters of War after the series of etchings created by Goya in 1810), Praneet Soi delves through images of unrest from Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and England. This series explores the imagery that results from the abrupt seeding of enlightenment ideals, democracy and its counter effects.
The momentum of progress has unsettled delicate and established social fabrics, leaving strange alliances and mutations in its wake. Juggernaut employs political imagery born of such process to comment on how images are distorted by modern media and made into contemporary legend, thus becoming part of our collective memory at the same time.