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The Horses Stayed Behind

by Cat Auburn

This work was a result of Cat Auburn’s time as the Sarjeant Gallery’s artist-in-residence at Tylee Cottage in Whanganui. The works appear in Presence courtesy of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, the artist and Bartley + Company Art, Wellington.

Cat Auburn, The Horses Stayed Behind (detail), 2015, horsehair, copper wire. Photo: Cat Auburn. Courtesy of the artist and Bartley and Company, Wellington.

A highly evocative work by UK-based New Zealander Cat Auburn that serves as a memorial to the 10,000 horses that left New Zealand for the front lines in World War One (with only four returning). The five metre long work features 500 flower rosettes painstakingly crafted from horse hair, similar to those made from human hair in Victorian times as momento mori. Horse riders and owners donated the hair for each of the rosettes across the country with each rosette identified for viewers of the project. The work was made by Auburn during her time as Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence with the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui in late 2014-2015. The Sarjeant Gallery will tour the project in 2017-2018.


Cat Auburn

Cat Auburn has exhibited both locally and internationally. In 2016 her exhibition, The Horses Stayed Behind won the award for Best Regional Art Exhibition at the New Zealand Museum Awards. In 2010 she was the Olivia Spencer Bower Foundation Artist in Residence in Christchurch. In 2014/15 she was the Tylee Cottage Artist in Residence with the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui and in 2015 she represented New Zealand at the TRIO Sculpture Biennial in Rio de Janeiro. She has recently completed an MFA at the BxNU Institute (UK), where her interest in site-specific research has drawn her into the museum collections and local histories of Newcastle Upon Tyne.