Nike stands vigil on the Cordova Street median at Thurlow in downtown Vancouver. Daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, she comes from a distant past. Sister to Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal), she represents Victory.  Endowed with speed and agility, she took her place as the divine charioteer, rewarding the victors of battle with glory and fame. Her name has endured over the centuries, along with her companions Zeus and Athena.

Nike

Nike came to Vancouver, a gift from the Greek city of Olympia in honor of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games hosted by our fair city.  Designed by Pavlos Angelos Kougioumtzis, who lives and works in Athens and Delphi, there is a remarkable strength embodied in Nike’s abstract beauty and elegant lines.  Bronze, four-metre-tall and placed atop a 2.5-metre base, Nike presides over a busy city intersection, a profound reminder that ancient ways are embedded in our modern societies.

We are defined by our mythologies. In turn, our mythologies keep us focused on universal themes that have been embraced and handed down through the generations of human history.

Nike

28 thoughts on “Nike

    • Isn’t she amazing!! Whenever I see mythology reflected in artistic endeavour, I think of the quote by Joseph Campbell: “Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another.” Joseph Campbell

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  1. Stunning! Such a beautiful, timeless piece of art. And you are so right about the power and endurance of myths. Here’s another quote for you:

    “Old myths, old gods, old heroes have never died.
    They are only sleeping at the bottom of your mind,
    waiting for our call. We have need for them.
    They represent the wisdom of our race.”
    ~ Stanley Kunitz

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Liz, that is a profound thought, one that resonates deeply with our longing to find sacred spaces and respite from a fast-paced, ever changing mercurial world. Thank you so much for the introduction – I am now going to look for Stanly Kunitz poetry books.

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    • My dear friend, I have been away from blogging for a few months, but I have kept up with your blog and all of the exciting things that are happening in your world. Congratulations – you continue to inspire and encourage us to build compassionate communities. Hugs coming your way!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I remember the first time I found a book about Greek Mythology. I was about 8 years old, but I still feel that sense of wonder when I opened the page to see Zeus above the clouds on Mount Olympus. It was if I was struck by one of his thunderbolts! Aquileana’s blog brought me right back to that moment! You must see Nike on your return to Vancouver!! She is waiting for your arrival.

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  2. I loved it… In greek mythology, Nike was a goddess who personified victory. Her Roman equivalent was Victoria.
    By the way , the Nike of Samothrace, a 2nd century B.C (Hellenistic Period) marble sculpture is one of my favorites ever. Link here: https://aquileana.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/nike_of_samothrake_louvre_ma2369_n4.jpg
    Too bad part of it was lost… all we can do is imagine here face (I think she would have looked liked the Venus de Milo!). Sending love & best wishes, dear Rebecca. Aquileana😀

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    • Winged Victoria – I get goosebumps when I look at this statue. Can you imagine what it was like to be the one who first discovered her on Samothrace. The culmination of a lifetime of archaeology.

      I agree, too bad part of her was lost, but the bold stance, the graceful determination cannot be contained. It is as if she will come to life at any minute with the flame of victory in her hands. Thank you for your amazing blog that links mythology to art and philosophy. I look forward to every one of your posts! Sending hugs, love and best wishes back your way!!!

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    • I agree! The artist has captured the spirit of victory. I understand other Nikes have been donated to every city that has hosted the Olympics every since the centenary of the modern Olympic games in 1996. The first city was Atlanta, Georgia. We owe a debt of gratitude to our artists for they speak to the heart of an individual and to the soul of the broader society.

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    • I am delighted that you enjoyed this vision of “Nike.” I happened upon it when I was on a walk. It is a recent installation (2013). Nike was kept in storage for 4 years until the city found the appropriate place of honour. Everyday, Nike oversees the flow of traffic that engulfs our city. As an aside, Vancouver is now taking huge steps to have bike lanes in the downtown core, which will eliminate traffic congestion. Progress is being made…

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  3. A truly beautiful and majestic sculpture given by the Greek city of Olympia. This reminds me of the Stature of Liberty given by the people of France to the people of United States. What precious sentiments cling to these two outstanding art pieces. I found this quote by C.S> Lewis’ in his essay: “Myth becomes Fact”. This is the marriage of heaven and earth: Perfect Myth and Perfect Fact: claiming not only our lives and our obedience but also our wonder and delight addressed to the savage, the child, and the poet in each one of us, not less to the moralist, the scholar, and the philosopher.”

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    • I do enjoy CS Lewis! I can only imagine the discussion that he and JRR Tolkien had over a pint at “The Eagle & Child.” I can see how you are reminded of the Statue of Liberty. There is victory and home in her outstretched arm holding a lamp. Very much like Nike’s flame of victory.

      “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Emma Lazarus

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  4. Ah… Rebecca, What a magnificent work of great art. It is majestically beautiful, and I truly appreciate and marvel at the perfect long sleek lines of Nike. She is indeed a beautiful lady.
    As to the mythology reflected in artistic endeavour, in an abstract way, there is truth in what you say. Thus who can assuredly say otherwise or contradict pray tell, for as Xenophanes, the Greek philosopher, theologian and poet wrote, that truth was but a web of guesses…

    Truth…
    The gods did not reveal
    From the beginning,
    All things to us
    But in the course of time,
    Through seeking
    We may learn,
    And know things better,
    But as for certain truth
    No man has known it,
    Nor shall he know it
    As neither will the gods,
    Nor yet of all the things
    Of which I speak,
    For even if by chance
    He were to utter
    The final truth,
    He would himself not know it,
    For all is but a woven web of guesses!

    Liked by 2 people

    • “And know things better,
      But as for certain truth
      No man has known it,”

      Oh, I do like those words!!! Humanity has always wanted to find certainty, to establish truth, to banish fear of the unknown. And yet, it is in those times of difficulty, uncertainty, questioning, that we seek a deeper way and allow ourselves a glimpse at infinite possibilities. Thank you, dear friend, for adding depth to this conversation. Very very much appreciated.

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  5. Well how very nice of you to say… Dare I abuse of your generously kind words, by telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! I just couldn’t resist, dear friend, so do with this one as you so well choose…

    “ If Truth Be Told ”~ how then discern ~

    If truth be told

    I will yet reach,

    A vision worthy

    Cosmos entreats,

    Not bent chicane

    Of vitiate deceit,

    Yet who’s to say

    Man didn’t teach,

    The gods sly ways,

    Thus so to breach,

    How then discern

    Of which I speak,

    Thus be held truth

    Or but failed preach,

    Too credible to hold

    Tho history has one doubt,

    Of man’s hidden truth be told!

    © Jean-Jacques Fournier

    this poem was inspired by the poem ‘Truth’

    written by Xenophanes,

    Greek philosopher, theologian and poet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You have so many blogs but rarely does any of your post drift through my reader or maybe we are just out of sync. Anyway I wanted to comment on your Loch Ness post but comments are closed. It was very interesting to hear of the mythology – I dont really rate Loch Ness apart from Castle Urquhart ( and that is difficult to appreciate because of it’s location) it feels bland and uninteresting the hills either side dont have any real wow features – but I know so many visitors love it. One of my highlights this year was to shoot Dr Robert Rines house he was the original Nessie Hunter from the states the house was on the hillside near Drumnadrochit with commanding views over the Castle – there was even some of his old equipment in the garage. Anyway glad to have tracked down your posts🙂

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    • Thank you Scott!! I have been away from my blogs this past summer, engaged in a couple of projects, one of them looking back at the photos my father took many years ago. Dad brought his camera everywhere we went, along with his light meter and other tools that are automatic these days. Our family was thrifty (being of Scottish descent) but Dad did not spare expense when he bought his Canon camera in the early 1950’s. What a difference now that I look back. His photos are clear – have stood the test of time.

      Loch Ness has a great tourist brand. The only monster I saw was a delightful stuffed animal that said “take me – I’m yours.” This year, we came back to your marvelous country, traveling the Western Isles from Lewis to Barra. It was one of our most profound adventures. Even though I will always be considered an “incomer”, it felt like home. So now, I am back in Vancouver sorting all the photos. Your photos are my link to the Highlands. Your comments are very much appreciated.

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