Ja'Tovia Gary THE GIVERNY SUITE 2019

  • MoMA, Floor 2, 212

Positioned near the entrance are two altars devoted to West African orishas: Oshun, the river deity, who represents divine femininity, love, and beauty, is depicted in bright yellow, and Yemaya, the fierce protector of women, who is associated with oceans, fertility, and creativity, is represented by the colors white and blue. Both deities originate from the Yoruban spiritual practice Lucumí, which was carried over to the Americas by African peoples during the transatlantic slave trade. In this work, French Colonial–style antique frames and a slanted settee gesture to colonization’s complex legacy as well as the comforts found in many Southern Black grandmothers’ homes, including the artist’s own.

Gallery label from 2023
Three-channel high-definition video and 16mm film transferred to high-definition video (black and white and color, stereo sound; 39:51 min.); settee; twenty-five painted frames; altar to Yemaya (candle, seashells, anchor, fruit, plate, vase, flowers, glass jar of molasses, glass jar of rum, and fabric); and altar to Oshun (candle, mirror, cowrie shells, fruit, cinnamon sticks, plate, vases, flowers, glass jar of white wine, glass jar of honey, and fabric).
Overall dimensions variable
Fund for the Twenty-First Century
Object number
Media and Performance

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