I am Queen Mary Statue in Copenhagen
By Contested Histories Initiative •
In 2018, artists La Vaughn Belle and Jeannette Ehlers created the ‘I Am Queen Mary’ Statue. The monument honours Mary Thomas, one of the three female leaders of the 1878 ‘Fireburn’ Rebellion, a revolt against Danish colonial rule on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. The monument was unveiled during the centenary celebrations of the sale of the Danish West Indies to the United States. Initially, the statue was made of lightweight material and placed temporarily outside a former West Indian warehouse in Copenhagen. In 2020, after years of campaigning, the Danish government agreed to display the statue permanently. During a storm in December 2020, the statue was irreparably damaged. In August 2021, a fundraising campaign began to cast the statue in bronze and display it and a twin version in Copenhagen and St. Croix. This case study examines how contemporary monuments can reshape historical narratives.