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Faculty of Classics

Goddesses, by Marian Maguire: lithograph of Athena next to a temple

Goddesses, by Marian Maguire

Greek goddesses, reimagined through a feminist lens

17 September - 13 December 2019


In this new series of beautiful, large-scale and timely prints, New Zealand artist Marian Maguire imagines how the passing millenia might have affected the traditional roles of the ancient Greek goddesses.

Assuming the Greek gods are immortal and therefore have a continued presence, Maguire wonders: would they do things differently? Would they stay the same and maintain the status quo or would they choose to change, if they could see us now? Would they stay, or would they walk away?


We create our gods in our own image. They reflect us: sometimes at our best, sometimes at our worst. I want the goddesses to see they live in a different world. I want them to adapt, change, be useful again.

Marian Maguire

Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis, Hera and mother and daughter, Demeter and Persephone, are all present as restless deities in this exhibition.

The exhibition features five colour lithographs and one etching, all on display together amongst the casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology's Cast Gallery. Maguire has borrowed from ancient Greek vase painting and statuary to make these works, but none of the figures are exact copies. Some are adapted from existing representations; others are inventions, freshly drawn in ancient style.


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Goddesses: Catalogues

Exhibition catalogues for Goddesses, published by PaperGraphica, can be purchased from the Front Desk for £10.

We also have a small number of exhibition catalogues for Marian Maguire's previous series, Titokowaru's Dilemma and The Labours of Herakles, available for purchase for £12 each.

If you would like to purchase a catalogue by mail order, please email . The cost will be the price of the catalogue plus post and packaging.


Other works by Marian Maguire

Marian Maguire frequently references and quotes ancient Greek vase painting in her prints and paintings, creating complex commentaries interweaving ancient and modern. Goddesses departs from the colonial theme which features heavily in Maguire's previous series.

In Southern Myths (2002) she set a plotline adapted from the Iliad in the South Island of New Zealand. Three major narratives series that engaged with New Zealand colonial history, followed: The Odyssey of Captain Cook (2005) in which Cook’s Endeavour became the vehicle by which the ancient Greeks collided with resident Māori; The Labours of Herakles (2008), in which the archetypal Greek hero is cast as a New Zealand pioneer; Titokowaru’s Dilemma (2011), in which the action shifts to the Land Wars between Māori and British Forces in South Taranaki during the late 1860s.

Goddesses is not Marian Maguire's first exhibition in Cambridge. The Labours of Herakles was shown at the Museum of Classical Archaeology in 2015.

A selection from the series was recently exhibited at the Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. One of Marian Maguire’s lithographs from the Titokowaru’s Dilemma series will feature in Troy: Myth and Reality at the British Museum, 21 November 2019 to 8 March 2020.


About the Artist

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1962, Marian Maguire graduated from the Ilam School of Art, University of Canterbury, in 1984, having majored in printmaking. During 1986 she studied at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography, Albuquerque, USA. She was awarded an Artist in Residence at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art in 1991 and received an Award for Excellence from the Canterbury Community Trust in 1998. In 2010 she was Artist in Residence at Tylee Cottage, Whanganui. She has exhibited throughout New Zealand as well as in the UK, Germany, Belgium and Australia.

Marian Maguire's early work was mainly figurative and gestural but in the early nineties she shifted her subject to emblematic architectural images. Most recently, in addition to Goddesses, she also exhibited two painted fire surrounds in 2017: Odysseus and Penelope. Between them, they present Marian's take on Homer's Odyssey. Lithographs accompanied these works.

Marian Maguire is represented by PGgallery192, Christchurch, NZ and Bowen Galleries, Wellington, NZ.


Further information

Visit Marian Maguire's website

Purchase works by Marian Maguire online


Every cast tells two stories.
One ancient. One modern.

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