Votive Art

Votive Art

Votive Art: A participatory art project, currently in progress. A scene depicts, in the style of attic black figure pottery, the sacrifice of Iphigenia, an ancient Greek princess. In one legend, she is swapped for a deer/hind rather than being sacrificed. The audience is invited to vote on how the drawing is to be completed (July 2016). At the end of the exhibition the drawing is completed based on audience votes.

You can vote here.

Backstory: I stumbled across the Iphigenia myth a couple of years ago now and it has haunted me and my work ever since. The Greeks were trying to set sail for Troy. The goddess Artemis wouldn't let them go unless their leader Agamemnon sacrificed his eldest daughter, Iphigenia. In one tradition Iphigenia is killed. This leads to Agamemnon's murder by his wife when he returns from Troy (see: Aeschylus's Oresteia). In another, a deer is killed instead (Euripedes' Iphigenia in Aulis - although Euripedes' work may have been doctored). It has echoes of the Abraham/Isaac story, but, in this one, the girl dies, and she dies because of Agamemnon's public duty as a leader, rather than Abraham's private faith. Why would Artemis (who is a goddess of childbirth among other things), require the sacrifice of a girl? One idea is that, if Agamemnon is leading the sons of the Greeks to die at Troy then he too should be prepared to lose his own child. Alternatively, a sacrifice isn't a sacrifice unless it's something you value?

It is also a mystery for me that the two stories coexist despite being inconsistent. It's not something you see much of these days, with our obsession with evidence and truth.


  • 2016
  • Participatory drawing
  • Conte on paper
  • 594mmx420mm
  • Work
  • Terms
  • Other