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National Women’s History Museum

In collaboration with Chief Network and Artstübli Art & Culture

Washington, USA

2021




The glass portrait of the current Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, has been created not only as a homage to her vision and commitment but also to honour various female political figures throughout history who have broken the proverbial ‘glass ceilings'. Through their perseverance, societal barriers were overcome, allowing more women to advance into leadership positions. In partnership with the National Women's History Museum and Chief, a women’s leadership network, the portrait was installed in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in February 2021. Kamala Harris is the first black woman of Asian-American descent to serve as Vice President. The artwork accordingly stands as a tribute to various female pioneers in history, such as the first female Congresswoman Shirley Chrisholm, the first female Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice as well as Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Conner and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Simon Berger's technique of shattering glass to create a portrait is thus worthy of the subject. It took several women to break the 'glass ceiling‘ and pave the way for future female figures in positions of power. The portrait is based on a photograph of Kamala Harris taken by Celeste Sloman, author of the 2019 book ‘Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power’. This project inspired Simon Berger to further explore various themes in his work that relate in some way to the materiality of glass. It has shown that the shattering and breaking of glass ceilings is sometimes necessary to develop and empower in order, to liberate something new out of destruction - very much as Simon Berger does in his own practice.





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