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‘Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story’ exhibition in Canberra

2014 December 10
Free and wild horses

Free and wild horses

I was privileged to be given a tour of the fascinating exhibition ‘Spirited Australia’s Horse Story’ at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra by co-curator Martha Sear. The exhibition tackles the difficult task of trying to show the role of horses in the development of Australia with a focus upon horses rather than people’s perception of them.

Visitors first see – and hear – film of horses in the wild. There are various sculptured depiction of horses illustrating their size and playing with ideas of absence and presence.

presence and absence

Presence and absence

Horses are seen as active protagonists in the development of Australia. Campaigns against the cruelty of the horse racing industry are covered – as are the products of horse corpses after death.

Campaign against poor treatment of race horses

Campaign against poor treatment of race horses

The curator tried, without success, to convince the editors that ‘who’ rather than ‘which’ should describe the equine protagonists – but failed. Nevertheless this is an engaging exhibition and well worth a visit.

Playing with different ideas of power

Playing with different ideas of power

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