In addition to addressing her time at Giverny, in THE GIVERNY SUITE, Gary brings generations of fraught racial and cultural history into dialogue in a way that is both deeply personal and rooted in global race relations. The channel at the center of the installation shapes the film’s narrative theme, using original and archival footage. The latter includes a 1976 performance by Nina Simone at Montreux Jazz Festival; Diamond Reynolds following the murder of Philando Castile in 2016; Josephine Baker in the 1934 film Zouzou; and Fred Hampton speaking on political education in the late 1960s.
Gary calls into question notions of the safety and autonomy of Black women by inserting herself into the film. We see her engaging with other Black women of varying generations and nationalities. She stands in Harlem on the bustling Malcolm X Boulevard and asks the question “Do you feel safe?” to a number of willing participants, all of whom are Black women. Gary considers this a “fundamental” question, she said, and as the film indicates, many women are apprehensive to answer such a question from a stranger in the middle of their daily routine.