Artists unveil statue questioning Denmark's role in slavery

In this photo taken on Saturday, March 31, 2018 people gather to view the 23-feet sculpture by Danish artist Jeanette Ehlers in collaboration with Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle, dubbed "I am Queen Mary" as it is unveiled, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Two artists have unveiled allegedly Denmark's first public statue of a black woman that questions the Nordic country's colonial past in the Caribbean and its role in slavery. The sculpture depicts a black woman sitting proudly in a wide chair, holding a torch in one hand and a cane cutter in other as a reference to resistance by plantation slaves and their strive for freedom. (Nils Meilvang/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)
In this photo taken on Saturday, March 31, 2018, a view of the 23-feet sculpture by Danish artist Jeanette Ehlers in collaboration with Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle, dubbed "I am Queen Mary" as it is unveiled, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Two artists have unveiled allegedly Denmark's first public statue of a black woman that questions the Nordic country's colonial past in the Caribbean and its role in slavery. The sculpture depicts a black woman sitting proudly in a wide chair, holding a torch in one hand and a cane cutter in other as a reference to resistance by plantation slaves and their strive for freedom. (Nils Meilvang/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

HELSINKI — Two artists have unveiled a statue of a black woman — a piece questioning the Nordic country's colonial past in the Caribbean and its role in slavery — in the Danish capital.

The nearly seven-meter (23-feet) tall sculpture, dubbed "I am Queen Mary," is said to be the first statue of a black woman publicly displayed in Denmark.

It depicts a black woman sitting proudly in a chair, holding a torch in one hand and a cane cutter in the other in a reference to plantation slaves' struggle for freedom.

Virgin Islands-based artist La Vaughn Belle and her Danish colleague Jeannette Ehlers said Wednesday the figure represents Mary Thomas, a slave who led an uprising in the former Danish colony of St. Croix in 1878.

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