Freedom Arrows

Freedom Arrows has been exhibited at Salem State University, Salem, MA. It is currently on view at the Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA and an exhibition of the work is upcoming at the Castellani Art Museum, Niagara University, Lewiston, NY.

Freedom Arrows is a body of new work focusing on Black Indian themes through the lens of the Native American indigenous experience of holocaust and genocide, employing the symbolism of the iconic tool/implement/weapon known as the arrow. In a metaphorical sense an implement of protection, service, aggression and power. There is also the reference of possessing a spiritual presence. There is a poignant level of meaning or agency for this maker as a Black Two Spirit indigenous creative.
As a cultural practitioner, I endeavor to communicate an authentic voice contemplating the post-colonial impact of structural racism and culture while considering indigenous trauma as an element to creating safe spaces for restorative justice. 

Two Spirit Identity


Currently on view

Ari Montford, Freedom Arrows, 2023, arrows, feathers
(mostly turkey), wood, paint, metals, brass, beads, leather
plastic, twine, acrylic paint, bone, human hair, stone,
arrow heads), dimensions variable.

Ari Montford’s Freedom Arrows amplifies the arrow’s symbolism as tool, weapon, and message to explore Indigenous Black themes through the lens of the Native American experience of genocide. Within the museum lobby, a volley of hand-beaded arrows is suspended midair (as if just unleashed from unseen bows) and embedded in the walls. Dual concepts of protection and service, aggression and power blend with the arrows’ spiritual presence to create a space that provokes conversation about racial justice and narrative-making. Montford’s installation engages with the impact of structural racism, Indigenous trauma, and the process of creating safe spaces for restorative justice through their own voice as a Black Two Spirit Indigenous cultural practitioner.

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