Praying Madonna Nike

Gina Matchitt (b.1966), Artist 1999 © All rights reserved See full details

Object Detail

This work was first exhibited as part of a series called 'Merchandise' at Royal Jewellery Studio in November 1999, alongside another work in The Dowse Collection, Riona Whero Cross.

Deidre Brown, in the catalogue essay accompanying the exhibition describes these works as being 'whakanoa', a concept that traditionally refers to the removal of tapu from a person, object or situation. Here, however, it refers to 'the appropriation and remodelling of opressive symbols so that they can serve new and more empowering purposes' (Brown, 1999).

Brown describes the Jesus and Madonna Nike works as follows, 'Matchitt's 'Jesus' and 'Mary' pieces are not acts of desecration, but an attempt to rescue the wairua (spiritual essence) of Jesus and Mary by using whakanoa on commercially manipulated images of them' (Brown, 1999).

Matchitt has used the global icon of the Nike tick as the shape for these works. By rotating the form and embellishing it, Matchitt takes ownership of the Nike 'swoosh' and converts it into a hei matau (fish hook), a localised shape rather than an international, commercialised image being rapidly absorbed into local New Zealand cultures.
Praying Madonna Nike
Production date
laminated printed card, fine silver, stainless steel wire
100 x 40mm (h x w)
Credit line
Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, purchased 1999
Accession number