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The Aventina

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Ciela Courtright, Reporter

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Walking by the Colosseum, Trajan’s market, the Arch of Constantine, or the Forum already makes for an impressionable sight, to say the least, but as of September 15th 2016, Mexican artist Gustavo Aceves has enhanced several monuments across Rome with an exhibition made up of ancient equine statues, collected from around the world.  

The forty some statues – each unique- are part of a travelling collection, which  will stop in Paris, Corinth, Venice, and Istanbul before finally coming to a rest in Aceves’ birthplace, Mexico City, in 2018. The collection has visited Berlin and Pietrasanta, and will remain in Rome until early January.

The fragmented, time-worn horses are made from wood, various metals (bronze and iron), and stones including granite or marble, but they are much more than that; they are stories. Throughout the history of man, humans have often been forced to wander; since prehistoric times when our ancestors ventured out of Africa, to now, the greatest refugee crisis since WWII. Gustavo Aceves was inspired by the horse as a symbol of migration throughout the ages, and ties the theme to the current day crisis by presenting some statues alongside not only human skulls, reminders of those lost along the way, but boats, which call to mind the dangerous (and all too often, fatal) journeys made daily across the Mediterranean, as well as the hope which comes with setting sail towards a new life. Ultimately, the themes and inspirations behind the statues, while incredibly relevant in our day and age, remain timeless . Set against the backdrop of some of the most culturally significant monuments in the world, each itinerant horse, standing stark and war-torn against the sky, is a reminder of the countless diasporas in our history. And they show that though the pieces may be broken upon arrival, there is always the hope that they can be put together again into something beautiful.  

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