We, Too, Sing America On view in Target Gallery | May 29 - July 18, 2021

About the Exhibition

We, Too, Sing America consists of 1,440 muslin squares hand embroidered with a description of an everyday act of emotional labor. The squares are dyed to read “for you,” “for me,” or “for us” in white letters on an indigo background.

Artist Ọmọlará Williams McCallister (pronouns: O/love/beloved) encourages visitors to tell their own stories through O’s work. Visitors can move the squares and contribute their own to the conversation. The goal is to invite interaction to create a sense of community and dialogue around healing from societal pressures and oppression.

This exhibition was selected as a part of Target Gallery’s 2021 call for solo exhibitions juried by Antonius-Tín Bui (they/them), Michele Carlson (she/her), and Deirdre Darden (she/her).

Special thanks to Hambridge Center for the Creative Arts, Currier Museum of Art, Blue Light Junction, Yasamin Safarzadeh, Janhavi Madabushi, & Arifa Awadadallah for supporting the creation of this work.

Photos and edited videos by Reese Bland.

Artist Statement

This installation is a continuation of the artist’s ongoing fiber-based series Domestic Work, which confronts the extraction of emotional labor, caretaking and other domestic work from Black women that is expected, depended upon, normalized and then erased in public and private spaces.

We, Too, Sing America is a memorial to the small everyday acts that we have undertaken to support ourselves and each other as we have collectively moved towards building a better future and weathered the storms of COVID, of white supremacist anti-Black terror, of all of the intersecting forms of oppression that we face/d over these past many months. In this work I use accumulation and repetition of ritual acts, art objects, images, and sound to explore the relationship of the individual act, individual person, individual moment to the collective, and to collective world building.”

About the Artist

Ọmọlará Williams McCallister (pronouns: O, love, beloved) is a dynamic creator who shows up in many forms. O’s work is a call and response blend of sculpture, performance, installation, ritual, space holding, community building, surface design, adornment, word, sound, song, movement, moving images and photography. The roles that Ọmọlará steps into include: artist, educator, organizer, cultural strategist, conjurer. In all forms O’s work is immersive and interactive, it is co-authored by the people who inspire and encounter it.

Ọmọlará is from Atlanta, Ga. O’s artistic journey began in church at 7 years old as a classically trained vocalist and bassist. Love attended Dekalb School of the Arts, a magnet 8 – 12 public school. Beloved has actively organized around social justice issues on the local, regional and national levels since age 13. Ọmọlará’s upbringing in the Black south is the foundation for O’s work.

O’s work is how O manifests paths towards personal and collective liberation. Beloved’s work is made possible by the expansive deliciousness of love’s chosen families. These families are ecosystems of interdependent people who dare to define ourselves, shape our experiences, and create new worlds and ways of being every day. We do all of this while living at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities.

Interactive and Multisensory

A multisensory installation, We, Too, Sing America, also includes visual, and sound elements in the form of a durational performance.

Ọmọlará sings daily at noon, June 24 through July 18. O is recording performances and layering the previous recordings along with the new performance of that day. The 24 performances is representative of the 24 hours in a day and the unending physical, mental, and emotional labor black women and femmes endure, but is subject to erasure in our societal consciousness.

Juror's Statement

Antonius-Tin Bui

Omolara’s investment in transforming our notions of monuments, performance, church, and engagement is evident in every decision behind o’s work. Weaving together a multitude of mediums and scales, Omolara crafts tapestries that honor every individual’s contribution to the completion of a work. Omolara’s multifaceted, nonhierarchical approach to art is liberating and certainly results in audience members leaving seen, held, and empowered.

Juror's Statement

Michele Carlson

We, Too, Sing America is staggeringly human and a methodical collection of lived experience in a time where our human-ness is laid at its most bare. Omolara Williams McCallister offers visitors the opportunity to write in their own testimonies that they may choose to either take home or place within the larger collective voice of the installation. This is a striking act of collectivizing grief. Yet, McCallister seems keenly aware this community is not a monolith, and that while viewers may all participate the choice to keep their contribution is a subtle allowance that acknowledges we might share this time but we also experience and move through it differently.



This recognition of autonomy, made manifest through a simple choice, is not just generosity, but also demonstrates the trust and reciprocity at the heart of collaboration and collective action—all needed to survive our current moment. Perhaps then this is a creative space of hope, constructed for us by us, that is most urgent and essential to remembering that we are not alone—a notion of course central to many of our experiences of isolation during the pandemic, but also one deeply felt by BIPOC folks on a daily basis. To bear witness to the space that McCallister creates, but also the ritual O weaves in and around the installation is evidence that what will get us through this time and what drives forward movements for social justice is ongoing, durational, and takes every one of us.

Juror's Statement

Deirdre Darden

It's with great enthusiasm that the jury selected We, Too, Sing America by Omolara Williams McCallister for Target Gallery's 2021 Solo Exhibition. O proposed a complete exhibition that beautifully utilizes art for expression; a provocation for healing, overcoming and acknowledging self and others, a much-needed action now. The world has shifted tremendously due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ripples of which can be felt in contemporary art and art practices. O's exhibition, performance and visitor engagement presents an opportunity for art again to become a capsule of the moment.



With referencing of ancestral texts and hymns driving this piece, it brings past perspective into the present. Echoing sentiments that communities still need to hear. The performances and culminating installation will no doubt lead viewers along a journey, take them to church as O says they plan to do, to a reflective new place through the work and their own contributions. At this time, We, Too, Sing America, felt appropriate and relevant. A courageous exhibition that can be safely experienced and evoke feelings some may be holding back.

About the Jury Panel

Antonius-Tín Bui (they/them) is a queer, polydisciplinary artist with roots all over the USA. They are the child of Paul and Van Bui, two Vietnamese refugees who sacrificed everything to provide a future for their four kids and extended family. Born and raised in Bronx, NY, Antonius eventually moved to Houston before pursuing a BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MIC/A). Since graduating in 2016, Antonius has been fortunate to receive fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Kala Art Institute, Tulsa Artists Fellowship, Halcyon Arts Lab, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Yaddo, Anderson Center at Tower View, The Growlery, and Fine Arts Work Center. Antonius has exhibited at various institutional, private, public, and underground venues, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, IA&A at Hillyer, Lawndale Art Center, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Artscape, Satellite Art Fair Austin, Blaffer Art Museum, Laband Art Gallery, and Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building.

Michele Carlson (she/her) is a multidisciplinary practitioner working across the fields of art, writing, publishing, and collective practice. Carlson is one of three founding members of the arts collective Related Tactics, which facilitates projects at the intersection of race, art, and culture. Their projects have been supported by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco, Berkeley Art Center, Kellen Gallery (New York, NY), Augusta University, and Southern Exposure’s Alternative Exposure grant program. Carlson’s curatorial work, exhibited at Southern Exposure (San Francisco, CA) and ProArts Gallery (Oakland, CA) have been reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Papers, KQED Arts, Art Practical, and East Bay Express. From 2016-19 she was the Executive Director at Art Practical, a West Coast arts media and publishing organization based in San Francisco, CA and taught at California College of the Arts. She currently lives and works in the Washington DC-area and is Associate Professor of Printmaking at the Corcoran School or Art and Design at George Washington University.

Deirdre Darden (she/her) is an emerging curator born and raised on art in Washington DC. She began her curatorial practice in 2014 with Black Artists of DC. Since then she has exhibited and collaborated with contemporary artists from DC, Baltimore and New York, organized panel discussions and artists talks touching themes of race, womanhood, societal pressures, and art's ultimate power. Noted shows include Black Lives / White Light (2015), Pressure Points (2016) and Lest We Forget (2016). In 2018 Darden received a curatorial grant from The Commission on Arts and Humanities to curate “We Got Next: Young Contemporaries”, an exhibit of emerging artists from the DMV under 30 years old. Until early 2020 she advised on the annual fair Art on the Vine, and was a curator at Eaton Workshop in downtown DC. Currently she is prioritizing rest during the pandemic(s) and working on projects from home.

About Target Gallery

Target Gallery is the contemporary exhibition space for Torpedo Factory Art Center, managed by the City of Alexandria's Office of the Arts, a division of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities.



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