"I Am Queen Mary" Forges Ahead

  • January 18, 2021
  • Monument "I Am Queen Mary" - Copenhagen


From the "I Am Queen Mary" website.  Also thanks to Nina York, St Croix Friends of Denmark...

Due to a storm in Denmark on December 27, 2020 the monument I Am Queen Mary was severely damaged. The wind severed the chair and took off the head that was attached. Currently, we do not know if these items which were made of polystyrene can be repaired. The temporary monument has been previously damaged in storms and the structure has now been compromised.

Photo by David Berg: Left - Jeannette Ehlers, Right - La Vaughn Belle

We are grateful that the finance committee of the Danish parliament has granted an amount that can secure a part of the cost of creating a new permanent version of the monument that would ensure that the figure be cast in bronze. This donation underlines that a vast majority of the Danish political parties support I Am Queen Mary. We also have received important support from the Ministry of Culture that will assist in making it permanent.

Currently, we are confident that Danish philanthropic foundations will finance a permanent version of the monument and those conversations have already begun. As this is an artwork in the public space, and I Am Queen Mary has been embraced both locally in Denmark and internationally, we are also planning on giving the community the possibility of showing their support through donations during 2021.

We want to emphasize that the damage to I Am Queen Mary is not an act of vandalism, so we kindly ask everyone to not promote any conspiracy theories in this regard.

We also wish to apologize to the residents and visitors of Copenhagen who pass by the monument acknowledging that the sight of the damage is disturbing, therefore we have chosen not to attach an image. We are steadfastly working on a solution, whether the temporary figure is either repaired or temporarily removed as soon as the weather conditions permit.

Thank you very much for your concern and support of this project that brings attention to how our colonial past still has resonance in our present. For more information about the project please visit www.iamqueenmary.com.

Artist La Vaughn Belle

Artist Jeannette Ehlers

Project Manager Anders Juhl


Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle and Danish artist Jeannette Ehlers have teamed up to create a monumental public sculpture entitled I AM QUEEN MARY which was inaugurated on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Danish West Indian Warehouse in Copenhagen. This project is the first collaborative sculpture to memorialize Denmark’s colonial impact in the Caribbean and those who fought against it. 

Timed to be unveiled at the end of the centennial year commemorating the 100th anniversary of Denmark’s sale of the Virgin Islands to the United States in March 1917, this project challenges Denmark’s role in slavery and the commemoration of its colonial past. It aims to change the narrative around this history by centering the stories and agency of those who were brought to the Danish West Indies and demonstrates how artists can be leaders in this conversation.

This transformative art project is supported by SMK, The National Gallery of Denmark. Additionally, I Am Queen Mary is realized with the generous support from Beckett-Fonden, the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces, the Municipality of Copenhagen, the Wow Factory and 3D Printhuset.

Photo: David Berg


National Foundation for Danish America
PO Box 1003
Wilmette, Illinois 60091

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