Inspired by the unjust struggle the Native Americans experienced during what’s known as ‘The Trail of Tears‘, UK artist D*Face conceived of two correlated public art installations located in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The projects are sponsored by the creative arts house, JUSTKIDS and local non-profit 64.6 Downtown.
–>Side note: JUSTKIDS is this great network of curators, artists, designers and art consultants that creates international art events. JUSTKIDS & 64.6 Downtown (an organization committed to the revitalization of downtown Fort Smith) run a program called UNEXPECTED. The UNEXPECTED brings urban contemporary art to Arkansas – curated by JustKids. Ok, back to the story…
A large-scale symbolic mural, “War Paint” revives the sordid past that once took place here in Arkansas; with a simple and clever union of an arrow and a paintbrush, D*Face’s mural confronts the past and propels into the future by hitting the bull in the eye and the bad lands in the heart.
After working on the wall D*Face chose to work on the ground for his massive arrows installation. The aim is to point the past a new direction with the pairing of a massive public sculpture made of five 40 foot long wooden arrows that each weigh more than 1,000 pounds, located now in downtown Fort Smith.
“Its like a two part mural/installation. The idea is to connect a wall to something sculptural. Which I have never done before and I am quite excited about it” explained D*Face while working on site.
Reloading himself with the native weapon of the Choctaw Nation – the Oklahoma based tribe underwrote the installation and also gave the artist advice and historical context to create his design – D*Face’s public sculpture aims, shoots and hits, from the wall to the sky, from the sky to the ground. These ﬁve immense wooden arrows are now rooted in downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas, a land rich in mystery of a conﬂicted (yet somehow) iconic past that never seems to exhaust itself of symbolic references, the Old West, and where its legends inspire to rise above.
Photo Credit: Zane Cash, Raymesh Cintron