ArtPoliticsRace

Black woman ‘Rebel Queen’ who fought colonialism gets statue in Denmark

April 2, 2018
Here in the States, white people are still slobbering over monuments for white men who were either serial killers or slave owners, Denmark has decided to honor the ‘rebel queen’, who led a fiery resistances abasing white colonizers in the Caribbean, with an epic 23-foot tall statue. Inspired specifically by  Mary Thomas, who along with two other women led the rebellion known as the “Fireburn” of 1878 where almost fifty plantations and most of the town of Frederiksted were torched to the ground.
The final statue, inspired in part by the infamous photograph of Huey P. Newton sitting on a throne-like wicker chair commands the eye and the viewer’s respect in a way I have never seen a black woman honored before. 
“This project is about challenging Denmark’s collective memory and changing it,” Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle and Jeannette Ehlers, a video, photo and performance artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark. said in a statement. Belle’s powerful body of work is best known for her interpretation of blackness, in the historical context, and integrating that into art history.
“What’s unique about this sculpture is not only its size and thematics but that it was not commissioned. It is we, two artists, who are pushing into the public space”  Says Ehlers. The project represents a “bridge between the two countries.”

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