Ja’Tovia Gary (American, born 1984)
6 minutes, color
Museum Purchase, Greenacres Acquisition Fund in partnership with the New Media Arts Consortium, a collaboration of the art museums at Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Colby College, Middlebury College, Mount Holyoke College, and Skidmore College, 2020.2. © Ja’Tovia Gary. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Artist and filmmaker Ja’Tovia Gary emphasizes the history of oppression, liberation, and resistance in her film An Ecstatic Experience. This experimental manipulation of documentary images incorporates narratives and sounds from different archival media. The film includes excerpts from a 1965 television show in which actress Ruby Dee incarnates Fannie Moore, a previously enslaved woman recounting her mother praying ecstatically that their enslavement be over. Animated markings done by Gary add a personal touch and response to the film. Gary also incorporates found footage from church services, an interview with activist Assata Shakur, and several protests in support of Black Lives Matter to weave together historical contexts with contemporary events, making the themes of resistance and freedom resonate on screen.