Athena and Nike

Athena is the goddess of War, Wisdom, Strategy, Industry, Justice, and Skill. She is also the goddess of Heroic Endeavour. Nike, the goddess of Strength, Speed, and Victory, personifies Triumph. Known as the Winged Goddess of Victory, Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame. Nike also appears on the obverse of all Olympic Gold Medals.

I have portrayed Athena and Nike far removed from the ideals of a Greek goddess. This represents my view that today's Olympics are far removed from Baron Pierre de Coubertin's original concept of pure amateurism when he founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894.

(FYI - Nike injured herself ski jumping. That was bound to happen because, as we all know, goddesses are more fragile and just not as capable as gods. Mortal women should be thankful that the IOC had the courage, and the good comon sense, to protect "the fair sex" from themselves by excluding Women's Ski Jumping from the Winter Olympics. This, however, seems to have left Athena in a fighting mood.)

Inspired by the colossal amount of public money being spent on the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Based on the statue of Athena –
ke, originally housed on the Acropolis, Athens, Greece.

"On the Backs of the People"

The people across the base of the image represent everyone on whose backs the costs for this spectacle will be financed . . .
that would be all of us.

I chose the Olympic Village as the backdrop to my piece because this is, ostensibly, a privately owned billion dollar condo project. And yet, its construction had to be guaranteed with public money. The background photograph was taken shortly after it became public knowledge that New York based hedge fund, Fortress Investment Group, had stopped financing the project.

I am not against the Olympics per se, and I'll be cheering on Team Canada with everyone else. I am, however, strongly opposed to the use of an obscene amount of public money to support what is, in fact, and in practice, a commercial venture. This money has to come from somewhere, and with deep cuts to Arts and Culture Funding, Health Care, and Education, we all know from where it is being diverted. Or do we? Will we ever really know?


Gone are your noble days
cememt and sad structures
give no hint of human existence
within whose walls computer keys strike

Come quick
before the columns before you
are covered with black car fumes
We fume at the injustice
the day democracy dies.

From a poem by Janet Hellis
(The complete poem can be found here.)

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