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On the Nose.jpg


JANUARY 26 – APRIL 7, 2024

Hidden deep in the West Country of Central Alberta and just a few kilometers outside the Banff National Park boundary, is the only federally owned and operated horse ranch in Canada. Unknown to many people outside of the horse community, for over 100 years this ranch has trained and wintered the horses used by Parks Canada wardens in our mountain parks: Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho.

For the past six years, Lacombe photographer Arto Djerdjerian has driven over rough roads in all kinds of weather to photograph the people and horses at the Ya Ha Tinda ranch. Arto began his artistic career as a street photographer in New York and Montreal: sitting, observing, allowing life to unfold before him. He brought this approach to the ranch. Composing his photographs in much the same way a painter composes a painting, Arto will tell you that he never set out to document life at the ranch. But he down acknowledge that by composing these fine art images over an extended time period, he has unintentionally become a documentary photographer. 

In Arto's photographs we find the mud, manure, and blizzards that speak to the hard and gritty work of the ranch. Bur intertwined with this grit is the breathtaking beauty of the ranch's mountain setting. Blue skies and snow-capped peaks are a stunning backdrop for photographs of horses. This combination of landscape, horses, and history creats a sense of magic; of a place apart. Arto's photographs give us a window through which we can glimpse this very special and storied place. 

This exhibition was originally curated by the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery.

News coverage:

Image: Arto Djerjerian, On the Nose, July 24, 2019, Collection of the Artist.

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