Marian Maguire

Pseudopanax Achilles Penthesilea

Pseudopanax Achilles Penthesilea by Marian Maguire

Artwork Detail

Achilles thrusts his spear into the throat of the Amazon Queen, Penthesilea. As they lock eyes, Achilles realises too late his love for her. The leaves of the New Zealand native Five Finger tree obscure the action, as if the viewer is watching the scene unfold from a position within the bush.

Marian Maguire chose to situate her narrative based on The Iliad in the New Zealand landscape as she reflects that Greek myths are part of the cultural ‘baggage’ European colonisers brought to this country. She elaborates that ‘it is a normal process to re-envisage and reinvent myth in the new land in order for it to make sense in the life we now have.’ By imagining these events in our hills and by our rivers, Maguire demonstrates the universal relevance of the story, which is ultimately about friendship, loyalty, death, isolation and despair. (Southern Myths, 2005)

Pseudopanax Achilles Penthesilea
Marian Maguire
Production date
535 x 640 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2003
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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