Searching for Freedom #0225 by Duane Montney

Searching for Freedom #0225 by Duane Montney

Medium: Mixed media on paper 

Size: 12 x 15

Artist statement: This piece came about from a conversation I had over the summer. While standing out in the morning sun myself and a couple other guys were talking when I noticed the scars and burns across one’s chest and arms.

My friend made a comment about them being war wounds. So, I asked the prisoner if he had ever been in the service and experienced an IED. He replied that he had done a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

He then opened up to us that the invisible scars started over in Afghanistan, but became something else when he returned home. in dealing. with what he had witnessed during the war became a drug addiction back at home, he explained how his scars actually came from an explosion while making meth and had burned him.

As he talked he spoke about how his drug use lead him to prison and while he has been down he has fought the demon of addiction and found a new sense of self in his sobriety. it struck me of how he spoke of a sense of freedom even while we stood on a prison yard encircled by razor wire.

What I wanted to show in this piece was the countless and faceless people who we all know and love who fight the daily constriction of substance abuse.

The darkness of the piece is the shadow of their addiction these folks live with. But, the light coming from the hands is the peace and escape that most of these people look towards when they finally get tired and try to find that freedom we all seek.

So, whether it’s freedom from addiction, prison, a horrible relationship or other traumas we go through, we have to find that freedom within ourselves to be totally free to understand the precious freedom we seek.

Image description (Alt Text): This mixed media on paper portrays a man’s muscular  body from the waist up. The man’s right arm is bent across the body and a ball of white light is held in his right hand. The light illuminates his chest and head but the face has no features, just bars of white illumination. Smokey white mist rises from and behind the body. A scar runs between the chest pectorals. The image is mainly black and white except for a green glow emanating from a ghastly syringe filled with a lime green effervescent chemical that is wrapped around his left forearm. The left arm is crossed under the right arm.

Artist bio: Duane is a long time collaborator of Let’s Get Free and has participated in all of our shows. He has been serving a life sentence since the age of 17 in Michigan. He was re-sentenced last year and goes up for parole the first week of July 2023. We expect him home soon and hope he will be in person for our next show!