I was commissioned by Holly McClaren, a cultural geographer based at Queen Mary’s College, London to create a new site-specific public art project in Oswestry, a market town on the border between Shropshire and Powys. Building on recent work that explores liminal or threshold states, in particular the threshold between the human and animal kingdoms, I developed a public event that explored the relationship between humans, horses and the borderlands. The site for the project was the old Racecourse just outside Oswestry, which is very close to Offa’s Dyke.
The town of Oswestry has a strong historical relationship with horses through agriculture, racing and through its location on the London to Holyhead mail coach route. I approached Jane Lloyd Francis from Equilibre Horse Theatre, Macynlleth (www.carregdressage.co.uk) to see whether she would be interested in collaborating with me on the project and ideas evolved from our discussions. We created an event on the Racecourse that involved two horses, one black and one white. My research for this project explored the mythological association of the black horse with the people of old Celtic Britain and the white horse with the arrival of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. Through the interaction of the two horses, the performance focused on the exchange of energy that occurs when two cultures meet, collide and are altered as a result. The horses performed a ‘dance’ around and within a series of concentric circles, in which they enacted the polarity and harmony of opposites, working simultaneously with themes of tension and fusion. The performance took place on Saturday 7th October 2006. A document of the event was filmed by Creative Mwldan and this was exhibited in Qube Gallery.For more information about Bordering see www.borderingart.org.uk
stills from the film: