About When We Gather

A multifaceted art project celebrating the historic achievement of the US’s first female Vice President, the women who came before her, and those who will follow.

Inspired by the unprecedented inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris, When We Gather is a film and an interactive program that calls for women across the country to usher in an era of healing, unity, and creativity.

In accepting her nomination, Vice President-elect Harris evoked the memory of her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who “believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible.” Harris celebrated “the generations of women:  Black women, Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment.” She called on us all, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and girls; cis and trans, to celebrate with her. When We Gather is our collective answer.

The renowned artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons, in collaboration with Okwui Okpokwasili, and LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, has choreographed circular movements for When We Gather. The performers have choreographed circular movements and gestures from diverse traditions evoking storms, spirals and ancestral energy. Knotted blue fabric is a powerful symbol of connection between the performers. The soundscape incorporates both lyrics and a poem written by Diggs for the project.

Mindful of the nation’s upcoming transition of power as well as the globe’s ongoing health crisis, When We Gather was executed, facilitated, and recorded in various locations as both performance and ritual and then artfully assembled into a single, short film. 

Image Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco.

The circle serves as a symbol of healing, unity, and potential. It shows us how we can remain connected even while we are separated due to the pandemic or the state of the nation. All of these factors inform the collaborative choreography, text, and song cycle of this global, shared experience. 

It is our intention for When We Gather to spread digitally across this nation, so that all people can share it, and enact their own circular movements, their own calls, to forge togetherness. When We Gather provides us all with an opportunity to heal, unite, and create.