Marian Maguire references ancient Greek vase paintings to make statements about culture, colonial history, and the role of mythmaking in defining perspective and understanding. Maguire’s 2002 'Southern Myths' series is a revisualisation of Homer’s Iliad in the South Island of New Zealand. In transplanting ancient stories of war, death, love and remorse into the epic landscape of contemporary New Zealand, Maguire fuses various mythologies relating to people and the land for local and contemporary resonance.
In this artwork Achilles ignores Penthesilea’s pleas for mercy and kills her during the battle at Troy. Initially unmoved by her death, he is subsequently remorseful when he removes her helmet. The setting of the scene in the Doubtful Sound suggests his uncertainty about his actions.