Lowering the Gaze

The Acropodium in I Am Queen Mary


  • La Vaughn Belle Social Justice Institute at the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW)




I Am Queen Mary, Danish West Indies, Public art, Monuments, Acropodia, Coral stones, Decolonial


This article is written by one of the co-creators of the monumental public sculpture entitled I Am Queen Mary that was done in collaboration with Jeannette Ehlers. Inaugurated on March 31, 2018 the project is the first collaborative sculpture to memorialize Denmark’s colonial impact in the Caribbean and those who fought against it. The essay traces the beginning of the collaboration as a transatlantic conversation that prompted the development of two separate ideas and articulates how the monument represents a point of convergence of the artistic practices of both Belle and Ehlers. Moreover, the essay highlights how the conjoining of the original monument projects created various conversations and tensions around colonial structures and visibility. By entering the work through its coral stone base, it uses the acropodia as a conceptual framework to discuss the hidden infrastructures of coloniality and how - through lowering the gaze and other sensorial shifts - a new kind of embodied knowledge can be gained. The article employs Kevin Quashie’s ideas around the aesthetics of quiet as a way to not only think differently about resistance and blackness as only exterior phenomena, but to consider the power and complexity of interiority. By extension, offering up a similar lense to view the inner life of coloniality, the article discusses how through the acropodia in I Am Queen Mary the invisible structures and labor of not only colonial systems, but the monument itself, can be made transparent.





Belle, L. V. (2019). Lowering the Gaze: The Acropodium in I Am Queen Mary. Nordisk Tidsskrift for Informationsvidenskab Og Kulturformidling, 8(2), 37–45. https://doi.org/10.7146/ntik.v7i2.118479