Ja’Tovia Gary

Film/Video/New Media
Artist in Residence, 2018

A portrait of a person outdoors.

Artist Statement

Through film and video work, I aim to posit a future in which Blackness, the feminine, and non-traditional ontologies are centralized. The future I seek to create contests representative and narrative norms and perceptions, and explores the haunted spaces of life and relationships. My videos and films are political, psychoanalytic, and personalized moments of liberation from the anonymous, collective personage, and distorted histories through which Black life are often viewed.

A perspective intellectually grounded in a radical Black femme gaze and subjectivity rests at the foundation of my practice and serves to render a more fully formed subject, discourse, and creative space, while maintaining a purposeful specificity. I seek to broaden my artistic reach by narrowing my focus. Personal history and family lineage are fertile spaces, which I mine and investigate as part of the creative practice. I am concerned with how structures of power shape identity and how these power relations are made manifest in popular media and visual culture.

Choices surrounding form are practical as much as aesthetic, born of the need to create work via non-traditional means, modalities, and materials, which depict subjects rarely produced in substantive form. The work conjures the aesthetics of Afro Surrealism, questions notions of space and permanence, narrative and the linearity of time, and is ultimately an evocative and disruptive invocation.

While at Headlands

During my time at Headlands I will be focusing in on the analogue component of my filmmaking practice. By de-emphasizing the digital and working closely and meticulously with my hands, I hope to continue my exploration of the materiality of film as well as considerations around the haptic or touch. Employing a variety of direct animation techniques such as scratching, masking, etching, painting directly onto the surface of the film, I plan to create a series of analogue animations and time based abstractions that will later be digitized and edited into a larger feature length documentary film.

Selected Video Works

An Ecstatic Experience (excerpt), 2015; Video and 16mm transfer; 16:9, 2 min. excerpt; © Ja’Tovia Gary

Cakes Da Killa: NO HOMO, 2013; HD video; 16:9, 13 min.; © Ja’Tovia Gary