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Artwork copyright Patricia Powers. Photo courtesy of Washington State Arts Commission.

Horses, Kenergy, and the Patriarchy

Horses: are they really symbols of our domestication of the natural world, or is there still something wild within their eyes? Some scholars, such as Ken from the major motion movie picture "Barbie", argue that "horses are just men extenders." Deborah Butterfield, a real-world artist famous for her deconstructed horse sculptures, disagrees: "The horse was not a metaphor for male domination; it enabled male domination... They [horses] represent what is/was wonderful about our earth - what we haven't ruined yet." Who do you agree with?

In Washington's State Art Collection, horses are mainly found as symbols and as part of the landscape. There are horses, donkeys, and zebras -- all part of the horse family. And they are represented as sculptures, paintings, prints, and more, both realistically and abstracted.