The work is covered in rusted nails in the tradition of the Congolese Nkondi Fetish figures . These are protective figures used to weaken and destroy evil spirits, prevent or cure illnesses, repel bad deeds, solemnize contracts or oath-taking. The statue would be activated by a shaman, using magical substances and hammer in the nails with each successive ritual.
Of course, in a christian and occidental context, the nails refer to the crucifixion of Christ, but bear a negative connotation beyond that. During the middle ages, nails also became associated with wichcraft, wickedness and sin. Here a degradation of the connotation of what nails symbolize is to be noted , as in earlier times, nails were seen, (because of their strenght and power to fixate two things together), as protective.
Rust is a commonly used metaphor for slow decay, since it gradually converts robust iron and steel metal into a soft crumbling powder. In music, literature and art, rust is associated with images of faded glory, neglect and ruin.
A reference, as so often in Kendell’s work, is made to nature as well, as rust is a completely natural process. The metaphor and embodient of rust as the ‘ageing process’ is none other than the natural changing of the seasons, the decay and renewal of nature, a permanent natural (r)evolution.(cf Noitulover).