~ Arabian Horse Art ~

Romantic Arabian horse is considered the most beautiful of all the horses and a favorite motif in art. Its homeland stretches over endless desert highlands of Najd in the western part of Saudi Arabia, and its magnificent mane flying all over the globe. It is present everywhere: in places where there are numerous heroes and ordinary people, in the nature surrounding man, in many galleries, objects, phenomena, beliefs and artworks. Carved in difficult living conditions, in which survive only the most resilient, in the heart of Arabia, it crystallized as its most beautiful pearl. Gently transmitted from generation to generation, it is vented in the embrace of harsh climate and hard nomadic life. Created by crossbreeding Central Asia and Altai-Mongolian horses, it is the oldest and most persistent race horse. Its intelligence and spirited nature reflects in its bright, big and expressive eyes, about whose insight and benevolence speaks many myths, legends, stories and songs. The exalted neck and the beautiful line of its slender body write verses about being created by light and dreams (work “Dream”, which Suzana is, from this series, most fond of). Goddesses created it from the snow and gave it hidden strength - the invisible wings, which often helped it to overtake the opponent and the first to reach the desired goal, to skip obstacles and ravines to escape from evil. The wind revived it, the dew watered it with freshness, the mountain fed it with foliage, the meadow adorned it with the flowers, and the desert protected it with sand. Loyal and always awake, it never betrayed its master. Genghis Khan and Tamerlane are known as the most capable cavalry commanders in the history of the human race. Tamerlane constantly crossed his horses with the Arabians and no one else had such an effective cavalry as his. Powerful and durable, and at the same time fragile and emotional, with their unique anatomy, unusual beauty and attractiveness, they leave unforgettable impression. Beside their exotic appearance, which flows from snow-white, through gray, red, ocher and brown to black color, they fascinate with their incredible speed that has been developing through the history while they run in the desert sand. Arabian horse races have been taking place for at least two thousand years B.C. on the Arabian Peninsula. Art and oral tradition of Bedouins who have been related to the “desert horse” for centuries testify of this fact. Extremely beautiful, noble and gentle, and spirited and strong at the same time, persistent and tough, it remained noticed in the history of art as an inexhaustible source of inspiration of many creators. It is immortalized in many wonderful sculptures, graphics, and illustrations across the globe. There is not an art museum on whose walls we cannot meet its magnificent beauty. Its temperament and elegance enrich the epic and prose works of many greats who treat it with respect. Suzana Stojanović is one of those who did not resist its charm, dignity, pride and uniqueness. She represents it with a special series of artworks in different techniques. Creation is her mission. In this works she insists on the light and details she tries to convey to the viewers those most beautiful and rare moments that sometimes shine so strong to shade everything around, but also quickly disappear without leaving traces. The supernatural Arabian horses are part of these unrepeatable moments that are not easy to catch and explain. Suzana went on a long-term journey of her own research and finding lost notes about them, which could help her present them in a large mosaic of different colors, movements, moods, social and historical overturns. This path requires patience, love and dedication, because all that is worth is valuable because it is difficult to reach it, and the Arabians seem to resist persistently to the eyes and hands of the artists. “They can elevate us to the highest altitudes, make us think and reconsider, but they can never disappoint us or lead to despair, because only one of their view and movement is enough to forget about many of the difficulties that we constantly stumble on life way. Their position of the head when they prance, the sandy glint of the muscular body, the glance into which the sky is always blue and the mane that flies to that sky like flame is a great inspiration”, says Suzana Stojanović. In her works, the author idealizes and tames them with peaceful moves, unlike old masters who have worked with bold, rough and nervous movements, wide brushes, and chose war motifs to emphasize their strength and historical role. Her Arabian horses resemble sculptures, and their sad eyes resemble human. They shimmer from the darkness on the works “Princess” and “Hope” in expectation of some brighter days and rejoice in the sky without clouds and in the nature (“Whirlwind”), but also leave much space for thinking. “Life is not one-way and unambiguous; it is very complex, full of rises and falls, enthusiasm and resignations, constant effort and struggle. The engaging art always requires new emotions, and creative inspiration for new sources. Arabian horses are inexhaustible sources from which you never go away thirsty. It is enough that you look at them only once and you will remember that brushes and palettes are waiting for you in the studio”, the author says about them in one of her essays. They have not only artistic, but also great cultural and ethnological significance. They are an integral part of many festivals, coronations and ceremonies. “Heaven riders” are just one of the many impressive scenes of the Fantasia Festival in Morocco. It is a moment in which traditional customs, horsemen and their beautiful companions come together. The festive atmosphere, for which its participants are preparing for months and which is an essential part of their lives and growing up, is just a part of interesting cultural events from these areas that inspire with their specialty. The riders in traditional costumes and their tasseled horses have celebrated long term friendship, harmony and mutual trust and demonstrate the strength and power of their own connection. It seems that horsemen, who synchronously shoot up, lift the ground to the sky. All this enthusiasm, which follows this equestrian sport during many celebrations, weddings and births, is unrepeatable. Decorative elements and agile Arabians, covered with dust particles and traces of smoke, which emerge from long rifles, are true art. Many historical events, battles, conquests and big names have been related with them and with their movements. If we follow these movements, we can come to incredible discoveries. Suzana writes in one of her notes: “Arabian horse art is an area that needs to be studied for years and decades to realize at least the centuries-old course of its development and to be able to break down a part of that knowledge that we could plant a new, our tree. It’s not just that distinctive curved line with a scattered mane. It’s a science.” While in the shade of a desert oasis, surrounded by a glittering chain, red braids, bells and ornaments in the form of small blue flowers and tiny horseshoes, young Arabian shines in all its uniqueness, to the observer, the question whizzed through his mind: “Is it possible for this beautiful creature to live on Earth?” The answer is: “Yes.” All the cuteness written on the pages of its ancestors’ lives, recorded in just one moment in a mischievous look, directed towards an interesting tomorrow, gives a stamp to this work, contained both in the visual experience and in the name “Wish”. The gentle light that breaks through the leaves shows a note of shyness and insecurity, but the position of the head of this beautiful horse indicates dignity and readiness to step into the future. Its beauty, like a star, radiates but does not scatter. There is something unusually impressive in that beauty and at the same time irresistibly lively, convincing and true. Bright Egypt in its eyes, the play of fluttering colors, tenderness and fragility shape the recognizable art that is born from warm sand. Exciting trips to North Africa fulfill the art lovers with many impressions and memories. The artist who enters the Egyptian and Moroccan land never returns home with empty roll. This prolific soil left behind the most original artistic achievements. Exotic and the spirit of old times attracted like a magnet. Oriental scenes, atmosphere and speech of the east should be experienced, breathed and heard. All this art shaped with figures of imaginary knights, woven of turbans, rugs, fabrics and ornaments, which are often part of the equipment of Arabian horses (“Silence”) and bathed in the sun’s rays, should know to describe. This sumptuous art requires space, love for the presented subject and coloring skills, because it is just the one who builds the composition, gives the volume to the bodies and shine the ornaments. You need to be ready to grapple with all these details. Suzana in her gallery observes and presents Arabian horses, although not out of the field of realism, romantically. Their buoyant jumps sometimes appear on her works only as a carefree play of beautiful beings that live in some kind of universe, to whom, no matter how hard we try, we will never be able to fully reach it. As we look at them, it seems to us that they know they are posing, and they are constantly trying to be attractive. Pastels, which she used to make their portraits, “Flame” and “Whisper”, give vividness and glitter to works, but those star in their eyes can conjure up only the soul and defiance, which makes us stronger and more insistent than others. It is this star that constantly returns to working and new searches because “as much as you work Arabian horses you always seem to have a lot more unsaid and unfinished about them to constantly fear that you will not have enough time to achieve it all and immortalize; they can simply get you to cross the limits of your own possibilities and become tireless. To know these playful beings and their temper is a great privilege and, as far as we persistently studied their appearance and movement, we always seem to be at some beginning. They are always different. You can make countless sketches, but none of them will be good enough to transfer it to the other base, as these purebred beauties never give peace”, says the author of this unique series of artworks (which can also be seen in DeviantArt, Behance and ArtStation gallery), and at times she shows them so really, making them tangible. Their moodiness and forcefulness is exactly what kept them on the throne of the art scene for centuries. The army of the Ottoman Empire remained remembered in history for many victories thanks to the ardent Arabians, who enriched every scene of victory and defeat and are always in the forefront as the main bearers of the action. With their strength and energetic movements, they conjure up moments from the past and allow us to experience what we have just read about different. Tasseled and impatient, under the bodies of powerful soldiers, they symbolize the power and firm determination to win every battle. The dazzling whiteness and splendor of these loyal and enduring companions always overshadow the dark side of the war in which the cruelty, hopelessness and fear prevail. Just in this contrast, which always distinguishes them from the environment, is their power and specialty. Recognizable by their dynamic movements, wild temperament, impetuosity and courage, unique, both in the universe that surrounds us and in art, they were and stayed the symbol of heroic struggles and victories. On imposing works, they are unsustainable in achieving some of their only known goals, constantly moving in some timeless space between reality, tradition, mythology, religion and history. During his stay in Morocco, Delacroix, among other things, wrote about Arabian horses: “In their homeland they are proud spirited, energetic and extremely meek, but all this disappears as soon as they change the climate; in the strangeness they become aggressive and it often happens that they get rid of horsemen to start a fight that lasts for hours. They fight furiously and cruelly as tigers and nobody and nothing cannot separate them. Noisy, heavy breathing and steam that comes out of wide nostrils like clouds from locomotives, manes agglutinating with blood, wild jealousy and everything related to them, both appearance and character, is poetry.” Suzana Stojanović, who with great enthusiasm working them, says about these unique animals: “To immortalize the restless, unconcerned Arabians, who are like a fire that comes out of a volcano that people are struggling to tame, is the epic. Like a glowing lightning, they have a need to shine. Their movements are as strong as wind and storm, and their view is gentle like a moon. In this view, the moments of many terrible times, endless and hard journeys of desert sand, countless insurmountable obstacles, wandering and uncertainty stopped.”