Meet the artists | Ja’Tovia Gary


_Art Basel’s ‘Meet the artists’ series presents contemporary creatives shaping today’s cultural landscape_

Filmmaker Ja’Tovia Gary’s work is an ode to Black feminism

Ja’Tovia Gary has carved a space for herself in the art world with her distinctive films and sculptures. In this episode of ‘Meet the artists’, we visit her in her studio in Dallas, Texas. Having migrated back to the Texas of her birth in 2018 after a 16-year stint in Brooklyn, Gary reflects on the significance of this return to her roots, remarking, ‘It’s a kind of return to one’s point of origin.’

In her films, she challenges the gaze on the Black female body, placing it in a transgressive position against existing power structures. Her film practice incorporates diverse media, from hand-painted 16-millimeter film strips to video clips from social media. Grounded in Black feminist theory, she draws inspiration from the likes of Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Saidiya Hartman. Gary’s ‘Citational Ethics’, a series of neon sculptures, refers to her North Stars. ‘The whole series is about illuminating and centering the thoughts, the creative contributions, and intellectual contributions of Black women. I look at all of the sculptures as speculative tools for a future person, someone who is yet to come about’, she says in the film.

Ja’Tovia Gary is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery (New York) and galerie frank elbaz (Paris). Her film installation, As Quiet As It’s Kept (2023) will be presented by Paula Cooper Gallery in the Meridians sector at Art Basel Miami Beach

Director & Editor: Tramaine Townsend
Director of Photography & Color: Diego Noriega
Sound Designer: Rene Coronado

Nowness
Creative Director: Bunny Kinney
Managing Director: Gavin Humphries
Commissioning Director: Katie Metcalfe
Producer: Noor Miah
Junior Video Editor: Daniel Tsao

Art Basel
Executive Editor: Coline Milliard
Senior Editor: Alicia Reuter
Video Commissioner: Jeanne-Salomé Rochat
Creative Producer: Akiel Gallina

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