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I AM QUEEN MARY, 2018 – La Vaughn Belle & Jeannette Ehlers 

I AM QUEEN MARY, 2018 – La Vaughn Belle & Jeannette Ehlers

La Vaughn Belle is a multi-media artist whose work mine the colonial past to expose contemporary social hierarchies and to afford visibility to African-Caribbean experiences. Often inspired by colonial material culture in the Virgin Islands, objects and spaces become avenues of investigation of identity, memory and history. Colonial buildings, masonry, pottery and documents are archival points of departure for her paintings, photographs, sculptures or prints. One of her most recent, well-known artwork is the 2018 I am Queen Mary monument, a collaborative project with Danish artist Jeannette Ehlers, that recalls the history of black slave resistance in the former Danish West Indies and to challenge Danish colonial amnesia. The subject of the work is Queen Mary, a prominent leader of the 1878 labour revolt in St Croix, whose likeness was created using the features of both artists. The sculpture was placed in front of the Danish West Indian warehouse in Copenhagen as a public intervention that inserts black, heroic imagery in the pageantry of Western art on view at the site.

– Petrina Dacres

The ‘Artists To Know’ feature began as a part of the Instagram Takeover that we partnered with Residency Unlimited on during the period of protests over public monuments, racial injustice and other calls for political paradigm shifts (June 19th). It is our wish to further showcase a growing list of Caribbean artists that are doing work and have done work that is both critical and timely. Find out more about La Vaughn Belle’s work on Instagram @lavaughnbelle and at the artist’s website.