When We Gather is a short film that pays homage to heroines of the past, visionaries of the present, and change agents of the future. María Magdalena Campos-Pons’ vision was centered around the People’s House, the White House, gathering performers in a spiritual cleansing to move us toward a new day. The film premiere commemorated the role of women in governance and marked the occasion of the election of the first woman—and the first woman of color—to the Vice Presidency.
During a time of seemingly unbridgeable divide, the film was rooted in the elemental role women have played during the 2020 election season and throughout history in bringing sweeping change across this country. Attentive to both the upcoming transition of power in our nation and the global pandemic, When We Gather was performed in separate studios and outdoor spaces in Brooklyn, Boston, Nashville, and Houston—in the spirit of gathering across the nation and embodying the diversity of the U.S.
In the work, a selection of seven women artists—María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Okwui Okpokwasili, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Dell Marie Hamilton, Jana Harper, Lisa E. Harris, and Samita Sinha—moved counterclockwise, recalling the Seven Powers in Yoruba religion; even as seven individuals, they all moved as one. Together, they tied seven knots of fabric in the spirit of unity. When We Gather implored us to find the new potential ahead by engaging women across the globe to move in concert with each other. The choreography, in its circular movements, created a concentric force upward from the past into the future. Following When We Gather, viewers were encouraged to enact their own gestures in the pursuit of forging collectivity and community with neighbors across the world.
The film marked the launch of a multi-year project that included When We Gather: Together, a 45-minute interactive program that was broadcasted on January 27, 2021 at 7PM and will be available for view until February 15, 2021. Learn more about the multi-year initiative and watch When We Gather at whenwegather.art.
Major project support for When We Gather was generously provided by generously provided by the Ford Foundation, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Arts, Equity, & Education Fund, the Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation, Ellen Susman, Marguerite Hoffman, and June McCormack.
Major Creative Time programming support for 2020 has been provided by Open Society Foundations, The Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust, The Willem de Kooning Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the Charina Endowment Fund.