Drive by Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa on the Al Qudra Road towards Seeh Al Salam Endurance Stables and you’ll see a sculpture of three prancing horses next to a UAE flag – in the middle of a roundabout. The life-size creations are the handiwork of Chris Nurse who besides being a farrier, also creates unique sculptures using old horseshoes. Since horses are a huge part of Arabian culture, Nurse says he likes to keep his creations cultural. "I’ve made statues of falcons, camels and horses from recycled horseshoes. There are so many around me to use," he says.
A resident in Dubai for more than 20 years, the Zimbabwean artist works for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, at his Arabian and thoroughbred stables, shoeing horses. In his free time he creates sculptures with the abundance of used shoes at the stables. "It’s now more of a hobby than a full-time job. I read a magazine and saw similar creations and I thought to myself, 'I can do that.'"
This hobby has provided the farrier with both a business and an art exhibition – ‘Cold Iron Art,’ on display at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel until Saturday July 18. Nurse’s talent developed as a result of his training and apprenticeship in the South African Army, which he left in 1979 to study at the University of Pennsylvania in the US. It was there that he took up an internship in farrier work before moving to Dubai to pursue it as a career. Through the generosity of Sheikh Hamdan, who set up a workshop for Nurse at his stables, Nurse has been able to establish Cold Iron Artistry. The company creates everything from small gift items such as candle holders, welcome signs, tables and chairs to more elaborate sculptures.
American Farries Journal has had several individuals send us their artistic horseshoeing artwork over the years. From time to time, we select featured projects and display them in an online photo gallery. If you have your own project you'd like to see featured, click here.