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Galloping in style
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 16 - 03 - 2010

"I'VE loved them ever since I was a child. I adored painting them when I was studying in the Faculty of Fine Arts. They are magnificent creatures," Ibrahim Henetar says about his exhibition, which features various Arabian horses.
The Arabian is one of the oldest and most easily recognised horse breeds. Archaeological evidence of horses resembling modern Arabians dates back 4,500 years.
Over the centuries, Arabian horses have spread around the world, thanks to war and trade, being used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance and strength.
Today, Arabian bloodlines are found in almost every modern breed of riding horse.
Henetar has been involved with Arabian horses for the past quarter of a century. He interacts with them and has taken many photos of them.
He also paints these beautiful creatures and never forgets the name and features of any one that he meets.
"Horses are like humans; each has his own character. They can be stubborn, shy, hyper, coward or strong," the artist says.
El-Zahraa, the famous stud farm in Ain Shams, northeastern Cairo, has named one of its horses Henetar, in honour of the artist.
These horses have always fascinated ordinary people, not only artists, because of their noble features.
It was Henetar's fascination for these creatures that inspired him to found the Centre for Horse Arts, where he teaches and also photographs, sculpts and paints horses.
For him, horses are more than just shapes, as his portraits of them have political and social overtones.
One of his paintings is of a centaur, half-man and half-horse. Ithas a moustache and looks like a body-builder, while a woman (his wife perhaps?) sits on his back to show who's in charge.
"The meaning is clear. The woman looks very shrewd," says Henetar, who is also an art critic with the French-language daily newspaper Le Progrès Egyptien.
His exhibition also includes satirical caricatures. One of these paintings, entitled ‘The Horse of Troy', is of a wooden horse whose body consists of a huge TV, broadcasting lots of satellite channels. Actors and musicians replace Greek soldiers.
"Greek soldiers hid in the Trojan Horse. But nowadays it's TV that is invading many countries. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. In any case, it's a weapon hard to defeat," he told The Egyptian Gazette in an interview.
In another painting entitled ‘Don Quixote', Henetar depicts a man sitting on a wooden horse, holding a wooden sword in one hand and a microphone in the other.
"This is Don Quixote, the figure that we meet in our everyday lives. He's a hero of the newspapers, but not a real one. He talks in a loud voice but takes no real action. He is like some MPs," the artist explains.
The exhibition, which features about 100 works, some paintings, some photographs, dating back 25 years, is being held in the Main Hall for Plastic Arts at the Cairo Opera House. It ends on Wednesday.

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