The "Dark Nike" is a contemporary representation of an ancient Greek deity, and the adaptation derives from an iconic second century BC original .The monument, known as the "Victoire of Samothrace", was carved in Parian marble, and was found at the highest point of a terrace at a sanctuary dedicated to the Great Gods on the island of Samothrace, Greece, in 1863. The installation of the statue was in a rock-cut niche, where the monument was secured to a carved stone base representing a prow of a ship. The statue is believed to have been an allegorical dedication for a naval victory, though the precise attribution and date remain unknown. In 1864 the monument was relocated to the Louvre, Paris.
The iconography of the "Victoire de Samothrace" reinterpreted as an African aspect in "Dark Nike", alludes to an interaction of sub-Saharan peoples in the Aegean. The Nubian or Kushite trade links provided iron ore to the Minoans of bronze age Crete, and the Kingdom of Kush, now modern Sudan, was one of the earliest civilisations on the river Nile delta. The Pharaoh's Pye and Taharaka formed the 25th dynasty of Egypt. In Greek accounts negro peoples were termed "Ethiopians" meaning "burnt faces"
To the ancient Hellenic peoples, Nike personified the spirit of victory, as the Roman renaming of Victoria suggests. The mythologies state Nike sided with Zeus and the Olympian Gods against the Titans in an epic battle for control of the world. Nike would herald victory and would fly down to the battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame. Nike was often portrayed on ancient Greek coins and the winged deity retains an iconic significance in contemporary culture.
The correlation of sporting events with battle and warfare is clear from accounts of the ancient Olympic games, and events including discus and javelin throwing as well as wrestling, boxing and running attest to this. The admired athletes were celebrated in poems, and bronze statues were dedicated to their athletic achievements. The competitive nature of sport remains as relevant to our time as it did to the ancient Greeks.
Every Olympic medal retains an image of Nike, and in addition the iconic winged figure features in many significant trophies and brands. The inclusive and unifying nature of sport and the concept of victory, athletic or otherwise, resonates in contemporary culture and the contribution of ethnic African peoples to the modern Olympics and the arena of competitive sport in general is undeniable.