BredWinners: a critique of the horseracing industry and the transference of anthropomorphic attitudes from one generation to the next

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Copyright: Nicholson, Clare
BredWinners critiques the plight of the thoroughbred within the racehorse industry and anthropomorphic attitudes that seem to go unquestioned, transferred from one generation to the next. Australians wager an estimated $15 billion a year on horseracing, so there is much ‘riding’ on the racehorses back in terms of cultural aspirations regarding hope, greed, elitism and celebration. But concealed behind the glamorous race day facade, the life of the racehorse is barbaric, brutal and unnaturally short. The industry terms this fall-out “wastage”. Traditionally, equine art signified patriarchy, sovereignty and political power but I have ruptured this historical classicism by representing the ‘broken’ and objectified racehorse, shifting the focus onto the denial of equine suffering. With ongoing selective breeding from a minimised gene pool, thoroughbreds are bred for speed and not longevity, causing catastrophic break-down and premature death. Because of this I question how we’ve come to accept such anthropocentric attitudes, especially given the shared collective nostalgia of an idealised childhood as wrapped up in equine toys. By recreating these ‘toys’ I destabilise reassuring mythological narratives absorbed by children through play, probing where are we are heading and what legacy are we preparing children to inherit. I believe no matter how many fascinators or cases of alcohol are thrown at the horseracing industry, the destructive regime imposed on these sentient animals purely for our need to be entertained remains inexcusable. I also believe children have the right to inherit wonderful relationships with other species, unhindered by morally corrupt influences.
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Nicholson, Clare
Ross, Sylvia
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