Professor Ari Montford’s Indigenous Voice on View at Howard Yezerski Gallery

February 18, 2021

Monterrat Faculty-member James Ari Montford’s Indigenous Voice is now on view at the Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston.

Indigenous Voice is the result of a creative process and studio practice which, for Montford, involves “scholarly exploration conducted in tandem with the development of an aesthetic that seeks to convey a social construct which further focuses on creating an art that considers societal ‘justice.’”

Continuing, he explains: “This is my exploration in transculturalism. The work is the essence of relational aesthetics. I do not see the work as political but rather more closely related to ‘a conversation’ in its broadest and inclusive context. The ongoing work is to research what is ‘Black Indian’ and the work created from the exploration will serve as the basis for a dialogue that is intended to go beyond the work. The work is part of the global dialogue, which seeks to question the canon by engaging in the deconstruction of perceived cultural constructs examining oppression.”

In the words of Leslie King Hammond, Professor Emerita to Maryland Institute College of Art: “James Ari Montford has been working for more than four decades making artwork that interrogates—inside out—art historical canons, Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder, identity, and mounting issues of social injustices, through a varied range of mixed media materials and methodologies. Ari’s intent was to ‘make an art that could address the experience of racism.’ As a person of Indigenous and African American heritage, Ari locates his identity within the realm of a technological construct, that challenges and questions the possibility of a ‘movement of Black futurism…Does being a cyborg give or afford me agency?’ The body of work in this exhibition is very personal, cultural, and intensely relevant to the gravity, currency, and urgencies of the complex and dire crisis facing all humankind in the 21st Century. Ari finds himself, as all other creatives seeking a sense of agency, within the deep vortex of local, regional, national, and global communities, facing life-altering conditions and the devastating unknowns of a raging unprecedented pandemic.”

Those wishing to see Indigenous Voice can drop in at the Howard Yazerski Gallery at 460 Harrison Avenue ste A16, Boston. They are open to the public Wednesday–Friday 11 am–5 pm and Saturdays from 12 pm–4 pm. Currently, a maximum of 5 adults are allowed into the gallery at any time, and guests are required to wear a face covering upon entry.

The work can be viewed digitally at the Howard Yazerski Gallery website. More examples of Montford’s work can be found at his website.