Artwork Description

Oil on metal

Signed on the front.

This artwork comes with an external frame

Sentiment pays no dividend.
“Horses know this more than most:
The greatest curse of any animal is to be worth money to men.”
Shaun Tan, Tales from the Inner City

This quote from acclaimed Australian writer/illustrator Shaun Tan was the catalyst for my new body of works, Duality. Having had horses be a part of my life from a young age and witnessing the often complicated, delicately nuanced and interconnected relationship humans and horses have, this story had a profound effect on me.

The human / horse relationship began over 50,000BCE when horses were hunted for consumption. At approximately 4000BCE horses were domesticated and since then they have been utilised in every facet of our civilisation from religion, agriculture, warfare, transport and communications to sport, leisure, status and money. The transfer of human language, culture and technology increased with this new mobility of man, yet I question if humans acknowledge this non-human animal who has offered so much? Once the human need for horses is no longer required they are often cast aside, forgotten in paddocks, sent to abattoirs or set ‘free’ into the wilderness to be vilified for ruining the environment.

Coinciding with their utilitarian uses, the horse is a universal symbol for freedom without restraint. I found this notion to be paradoxical as the human / horse relationship is built on harnessing their power often through restraint. Horses are seen as pillars of strength and power yet their bodies and minds are fragile and anxious. It was here that I realised I was not only describing the human / horse relationship but the relationship with my own reality. My desire to step out of the shadows, speak my truths and question the status quo with quiet conviction came with restrains of uncertainty and self doubt. Like the horse, I am a product of my environment and those who have been connected to me, positively or negatively.

The creation of each painting takes many weeks, days and hours and during that time these innermost thoughts and feelings are embedded into each stroke. Through this delicate approach the power of the image emerges. Akin the relationship between humans and non-human animals the smallest change in tone and temperature can make the largest overall impact.

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Oil on Aluminium Panel framed in sustainable natural Australian Oak

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All art by Brooke Walker

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