Origins of the Exhibition: Evoking the Horse

Curator: Natalie Hill

This exhibition evolved from my doctoral thesis ‘The Art of Human-Horse Engagement: Tracing lived and represented human-horse relations in Northern Plains Indian communities, c.1700 to the present day’.

The artworks in this exhibition came together through the kindness and generosity of many people. For most of 2017 into 2018 and again in the summers of 2018 and 2019 I undertook ethnographic fieldwork for my PhD on the Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Blackfeet and Lakota Reservations. The friendship and spirit of giving I encountered were unparalleled, from the time taken to talk with me, to the telling of stories, taking me out on horseback, and bringing me into their homes. All were happy to share stories, histories, thoughts, anecdotes, and especially laughter. These pieces came together through my search for horses depicted in art, either through the act of being gifted to me, or through my choice to purchase items from artists I knew. In this way, the curators of this exhibition are many, and I extend my gratitude to Maggie Carlson, Bill Yellowtail, Putt and Jill Thompson, Robert Hall, Ernest Marceau, and Butch Thunder Hawk.


This exhibition is dedicated to two people who let me into their worlds, opened doors - and their hearts - to me, and from whom I learnt so much. One of the greatest things they showed me was their humour and laughter. Each in their own way, they lit up my time Out West, and the world dimmed a little when each passed on.

Michelle Walking Bear (1977 - 2019). An amazing Apsáalooke horsewoman, who expanded the boundaries of both bravery and kindness.

Michelle Walking Bear

Michelle Walking Bear

Leroy Whiteman (1938 - 2020). A Northern Cheyenne artist and horseman, he was a constant inspiration and guide during my fieldwork.

Leroy Whiteman

Leroy Whiteman

Artist quotes are taken from participant interviews I conducted during my fieldwork.

With heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Chris Dorsett, Giacomo Vagni, Anne Carter, Clive Carter, Jaanika Vider, Richard Hill, Adam Smith, Katy Long, John Marceau and Margaux Pizzolato, who all helped me in various ways with the creation of the physical exhibition in Oxford.


Natalie Hill