People who spend their time behind the scenes with horses at racetracks have an unspoken and compelling bond, according to local artist Juanita Sahl.
“What I love about the backstretch, when I’m there, with all those people of various backgrounds, some extremely wealthy, some really well educated others not formally educated at all, some are virtually homeless except for their tack room, but it’s the love of the horse that brings them all together,” she said. “But they don’t talk about it. But you understand that.”
Sahl is presenting an exhibition at the McMillan Arts Centre from November 1 to 23 called Everything Horses. The opening reception will take place November 1 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Her show will include a diverse collection of artwork surrounding her love of horses, from her time at Hastings Racecourse to fantasy pieces. The exhibition will include canvas floor cloths, what she calls old time art, drapery, oil prints, line drawings, poetry, watercolours and more.
Sahl doesn’t remember the first time she drew or painted a horse because she was too young. But she does remember her first connection with horses at Hastings Racecourse. She had an instant kinship with the place, the people and the horses.
Sahl had an exhibition of the work she created there called Here at Hastings which she showed in White Rock and in Vancouver, and she’s held a couple shows as fundraisers for horse foundations like New Stride, a thoroughbred adoption society. Her exhibition in Parksville will also benefit that society as well as another horse-related charity.
Sahl said she personally loves everything about horses and feels complete in their presence.
“For me it’s just a total connectedness to the creature, it’s the beauty, the spirituality, the intelligence, the communication, their strength and their gentleness at the same time; The relationship between man and horse, and that form of interdependence and the history behind it.”
She hopes visitors get an appreciation of the strength and beauty of the horse, a respect for the animal, and a respect for the diversity of the show. And as a fairly new resident, she is also looking forward to meeting other horse lovers in the community.