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Erskineville is being transformed into a haven of horse activity for Art & About 2008, the biggest free public art festival in Sydney.

Created by local artist, Annie Kennedy, The Stables project will celebrate, honour and remember the rich history of horses in the Erskineville area.

“The Stables will act as a counterbalance to our modern lifestyle and remember a way of life that used to exist in Erskineville,” Ms Kennedy said.

Not so long ago, Erskineville was alive with working horses making deliveries of milk and bread, selling clothes, rabbits, wood and other household items. Some residents kept horses, while Clydesdale horses for Penfold’s stationers were housed in stables in Union Street when the area was first settled as a working farm.

As part of Art & About, The Stables kicks off with a free public celebration on Saturday, October 11. The day will feature giant horse projections that can be viewed from Erskineville Road, as well as live horses, and horse and cart rides.

The public celebration day also marks the opening of The Stable Installation, featuring video interviews with local residents on their recollections of horses in the area, projections and memorabilia.

It also marks the opening of the Clay Horse Exhibition in Erskineville Road shopfronts. In August, every house in Erskineville was delivered a block of clay with residents encouraged to make a small model clay horse.

Ms Kennedy held a community workshop soon after to help members of the community craft their horses.

Thousands of clay horses were collected, fired and will be displayed in shop windows along Erskineville Road. Both The Stable Installation and Clay Horse Exhibition will run until October 26.

The Stables art project in Erskineville culminates with the Procession of Horses on Saturday, October 18. From 3pm to 5pm a procession of horses will meander Erskineville’s back lanes to mark both the return to and loss of horses from the area.

“This new project will see public spaces, shopfronts, streets and buildings in Erskineville come alive with a public art project linking Erskineville’s colourful history and personal stories to the wonderful community precinct it is today,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Linda Daniele

*First published in the South Sydney Herald, October 2008.

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