August 2017 Issue - page 1

Vol. 24 No. 8
Our 24th Year
August 2017
LANC., PA 17604
Harris is first African American woman to
play high goal polo … pg. 6
Parx trainer Heather Holloway took an
unusual path to racing … pg. 10
Old grey mare, babysitter of weanlings, is
rescued by first time horse owner …. Pg. 11
…and much more!!!
New Feature!! Equine Insurance,
Legal & Business … pgs. 14-16
(Continued on page 9)
By Suzanne Bush
The world is at once vast
and small. On a street in Phil-
adelphia generations of people
have struggled against seemingly
insurmountable odds to preserve
a tradition of horsemanship. An
artist in Paris stumbled upon
photographs of these urban cow-
boys and was fascinated by the
juxtaposition of horses and cars
in a large American city.
His visit to Fletcher Street
Riding Stables turned into an
eight-month odyssey, during
which he photographed the peo-
ple, along with the horses and the
cars they had to dodge while they
pursued their passion for all things
equine. The chief curator of one
of the world’s most comprehen-
sive collections of Impressionist
and Post-Impressionist art, on a
visit to Paris, discovered a selec-
tion of work featuring Philadel-
phia’s urban cowboys. Et Voila!
Serendipity brought the
Fletcher Street Riding Stables,
French-Algerian artist Mohamed
Bourouissa, and Sylvie Patry,
the Chief Curator of the Barnes
Foundation, together. Urban Rid-
ers, the exhibition that showcases
the people, horses and traditions
of the Fletcher Street Riding
Stables, opened in June at the
Barnes (
- and will run through
October 2.
Curiosity Drew the
Artist to Philadelphia
Bourouissa explores concepts
such as power and poverty in his
work. He had seen some photos
by Martha Camarillo in a gallery.
She had visited Fletcher Street,
and her photos of the people,
the neighborhood and the horses
inspired Bourouissa to learn more.
As he walked around Philadel-
phia, and spent time with the
people at Fletcher Street, he began
Urban Cowboys from Philadelphia Ride into International Spotlight
(Above) Algerian-French artist Mohamed Bourouissa, whose
recent works featuring the members of the urban Fletcher
Street Riding Club are on exhibit at the Barnes Foundation
in Philadelphia, helped to create a Horse Day event in 2014.
Local Philadelphia artists worked with Bourouissa and the
riders to create the elaborate costumes. The costumes and a
video of the event are included in the exhibit.
Photo courtesy
of Mohamed Bourouissa and Kamel Mennour, Paris/London
(Right) Internationally recognized artist Mohamed Bourouis-
sa found the amount of work and skill that goes into caring
for and riding horses eye-opening.
Photo by Suzanne Bush.
thinking about how what he was
seeing could be made into art that
would have meaning to the people
he was photographing and the
people for whom Fletcher Street
would be a startling revelation.
He knew that to do justice to the
people and the project, he had to
immerse himself in the place. “I
was planning on staying, because
the physical aspect is important
to me,” he explains. “It’s not just
how you walk on the street and
how you discover people. My
work all the time is how you see
and feel. I needed to be there.”
What the artist found in
Philadelphia was a community of
cowboys, a community that was
preserving a history that pre-dates
cars. “We use the car for just 100
years,” he says. “We use the hors-
es for how many years?” English
is Bourouissa’s third language.
Cindy Kang, the assistant curator
at the Barnes Foundation, who is
fluent in French, helped navigate
some of the more complicated
questions and answers.
Fletcher Street, it turns out, is
both the same and radically differ-
ent from riding stables elsewhere
in Pennsylvania and thousands of
American suburbs. The facility
may look different. There are no
pastures and turnout is sparse.
Riders navigate car traffic on busy
city streets in order to get to the
trails in Fairmount Park. It’s less
than a mile, but equestrians accus-
tomed to suburban riding would
probably blanch at the prospect of
contending with cars, horns, kids
on bikes, motorcycles, etc.
At Fletcher Street, though,
deep emotional ties between the
horses and the people who care for
them are obvious, just as they are
at more conventional stables. Kids
who want to ride must follow the
rules: no fighting; homework and
school work must be completed.
“The kids come to clean the horse
and to ride,” Bourouissa said. “I
started to learn a lot about the
community and about the type of
patience they have.” The adults,
many of whom came to Fletcher
Street as kids, enforce discipline
while teaching the new generation
of riders to respect and care for the
horses. “The world of the horse
is very complex,” he said. It was
eye-opening for him to see how
much work and skill are required.
In an interview with Okwui
Enwezor, director of Haus der
Kunst (the House of Art) in Mu-
nich, Bourouissa explained that the
traditional version of the Ameri-
can cowboy was upended by the
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