Ari is a cultural practitioner, an interdisciplinary artist whose work ranges from photography and collage to performance art. He is on the faculty of Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.
Graduating with Honors in Fine Arts from Brandeis University, he was awarded the Rosalind W. Levine Award. He then earned his MA in Art and Education at Columbia University, and an MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He has pursued a studio practice committed to challenging the canon from the perspective of a narrative lens of cultural competency.
Persuasions, an intersectional mid-career retrospective exhibition, was presented at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery. Residencies include four Yaddo Fellowships, the Art Matters Inc. NYC Artist Fellowship, Skowhegan residency and a Vermont Studio Center Grant, a Dune Shack Residency on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and a Blue Mountain Center Residency in New York state. He has received two Pollock-Krasner Foundation International Grants, a National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship, the New England Foundation Art Matters Grant, two Connecticut Commission Arts grants as well as Artist Resource Trust grants from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation.
Ari is currently represented with Anderson Yezerski Gallery in Boston and is affiliated with June Kelly Gallery in New York, NY. His work is held in the collections of the Rose Art Museum, RISD Museum, Chrysler Museum, DeCordova Museum, Taft Museum, Scottsdale Arts Center, Visual Artists Fellowship Archive, Smithsonian Institution’s NMAA and the Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University, among others.
Recent honors include the acquisition of his work in 2020 by the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA and a 2020–2021 Fellowship at Brown University’s Center for Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA).
My creative process and studio practice involve 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”. This is my exploration of 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 most 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. What is holocaust? There is an effective ambiguous nature to the work that aptly lends itself to the focus of the discussion on subjugation while still being interested in resolving formal conceptual issues.
I am acutely interested in and fascinated by the issues raised by the work in addressing the false universal societal constructs — racism, community, and environments, their interaction with myth, their persuasiveness focusing on the deconstruction of stereotyped images as they relate to people of color in the global sense and relationships to the Holocaust. I use Holocaust here in the global context.
I am a black Indian as well. I am interested in connecting the conceptual/formal concerns of the work with transculturalism at the center of the aesthetic debate/conversation. This exploration should provide the backdrop for the continued development of the work from its formal and conceptual directions while enhancing my interest in cultural history as it pertains to the Pan-African Holocaust. My work then has a multi-layered approach that seeks to encourage a transformative process for the viewer. I hope to continue developing an evolving dialogue with the work that recognizes the realities of global oppression and its implications.