GOMELA/TO RETURN: MOVEMENT OF OUR MOTHER TONGUE
Gomela, a Bantu word, means “to go back to/to return.” Directed by Stephanie McKee and developed by dancers Kesha McKey, Kai Knight, Jeremy Guyton, poet Sunni Patterson and drummer Jawara Simon, Gomela takes us on a journey through time and space. Making evident the connection between Africa, Haiti, and New Orleans, Gomela highlights the vibrant and percussive movements and stories that breathe life into ancient African dance and drumming and contemporary artistic expression, such as spoken word, hip-hop and jazz. Gomela is an experience of collective memories passed down from generation to generation, a tapestry woven by a group of multi-disciplinary artists who represent the diversity of African Americans who call New Orleans home.
Gomela is based on hope, survival, courage and the resilience that exists in the face of oppression. It is about the heartbeat of a people that will never die, the culture and traditions that continue to evolve, grow and survive the test of time. It illuminates Place Matters—gentrification and the Right of Return of New Orleanians displaced after Katrina; and Black Lives Matter—the beauty and resilience of black people, past and present.