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Photo: When We Gather.
When We Gather is available to stream until Feb. 15. Photo: When We Gather.

Heroines, visionaries and leaders: Kamala Harris and the dream of women who dance

Inspired by the election of the country's first Black woman as Vice President, seven artists orchestrated a "spellbinding" video that can be seen until Feb. 15.

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Writer and chaos magician Alan Moore, father of Fossil Angels among others, considers any form of art a magical act because it consists of manipulating symbols, words or images to achieve changes in consciousness.

"I believe that magic is art and that art, be it writing, music, sculpture or any other form, is literally magic," he wrote. 

In this way, and in the 21st century, the artist is the closest thing we have to a shaman. 

From this perspective, the short film When We Gather, which was premiered on Jan. 27 and can be seen until Feb. 15 HERE, can be understood as the rite free of esotericism — a celebration of the magic and energy that the union between women provokes.

The idea came about shortly after Kamala Harris accepted the nomination as the first Black female Vice President of the United States last November. Then, Afro-Cuban artist and Vanderbilt University (Nashville) professor María Magdalena Campos Pons had a dream. A particularly vivid one.

She dreamt of a group of Black women dancing in white around the White House, twisting and turning counter-clockwise.

"The women were saying, 'Where are we going? To the people's house," Campos Pons told EFE.

"For me it was a very beautiful thing, because it seemed like a rite of healing, of eliminating negative energies, and they all made a movement against the direction of the clock, around the White House and passed each other a blue ribbon," she said.

In the group of women dancing, she recognized two of her friends who were "performers" and when she woke up, decided to call them and tell them about the dream. 

They were immediately enthusiastic and resolved to make it a reality. But as the pandemic made it impossible to convene a large number of other women around the White House, they looked for other ways to cast the spell that ended up becoming When We Gather. 

A project that brought together seven artists who also toured dressed in white from places like Brooklyn, Nashville or Houston, while in the background, a woman is heard reciting. 

It was very much a tribute to the heroines of the past, the visionaries of the present and the leaders of the future, inspired by Kamala Harris

Together, we are powerful

The video opens with images of slaves working as nannies or in the cotton fields, but as time progresses, they become nurses, in the military, suffragettes fighting for their right to vote, for better pay and for gender and racial equality. And finally, new faces appear, of women from a wide variety of ethnic groups who give way to Harris as a symbol and result of all this historical and collective struggle. 

Campos Pons explained that they dressed in white in honor of the suffragettes and that other artists who participated in the video, entirely produced by women, were invited at the suggestion of the Wendi Norris Norris gallery in San Francisco.

"The central idea of the project is that it is a call to action. What I'm proposing is not an esoteric idea, the idea is that when we are together we feel the power, the strength and energy that sustains each other and that with that we can do positive things," she concluded.

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