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Whyte Museum art exhibits pay homage to Bow Valley icons

The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff is launching two new art exhibits, Unbridled along with the return of Artistry Revealed, next Friday (Oct. 11)

BANFF – Two art exhibits, Unbridled and Artistry Revealed, are coming to Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in October and both are homages to important figures and icons within the Bow Valley’s history.

In the main gallery is Unbridled, an exhibit of archival material, photographs, paintings and sculptures that celebrating the horse.

“It’s just going to be jam-packed full of everything horse,” said Unbridled curator, D.L. Cameron.

“I think people are just going to go, ‘wow, I didn’t think the horse was that importan,t’ because it’s just always been there. It’s one of these animals that has allowed us to do everything – plowed our fields, transportation. It was one of the means for transportation in the park for a long time.”

The role of the horse contributed to the formation of the Bow Valley, as it accompanied historical figures such as Thomas Edmonds Wilson, Bill Peyto and Jimmy Simpson, said Cameron.

While today, our dependency on the horse has lessened, its significance in Bow Valley culture still remains, with Parks Canada wardens and other staff who still travel on horseback today into the backcountry. Furthermore, carriage rides and backcountry trail horseback rides still occurring in Banff, it’s deeply ingrained in our local culture.

“You go into the backcountry and it’s lovely. You go on a horse and you can see so much more because you’re not looking at your feet and plus the animals don’t shy away as much because it’s almost like one of theirs. They don’t notice the people first. They notice the animal and they’re not as afraid of the horse,” Cameron said.

Returning to the Whyte Museum on the same day is the Artistry Revealed exhibition, displaying works of Peter and Catharine Whyte. Originally released last year in celebration of the Whyte Museum’s 50th anniversary, the exhibit pays homage to the Whyte Museum’s founders and artists, Peter and Catharine Robb Whyte.

Curator of Artistry Revealed Anne Ewen said that Peter and Catharine Whyte’s art pieces consist of portraiture and landscape artwork supported by didactic material on their lives. The Whytes are the most well-known Banff artists from the 20th century.

“This incredible legacy that they left to the Bow Valley – they’ve left this incredible museum, an archive, a library, a huge heritage collection for the people of the Bow Valley, but also to the hundreds and thousands of visitors that come through this region,” Ewen said.

The opening reception for both Unbridled and Artistry Revealed is next Friday (Oct. 11) at 7 p.m. The exhibits will be on display until January 26, 2020 at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Unbridled is exhibited in the main gallery while Artistry Revealed will be on display in the Rummel Room.