Panel Discussion | October 17, 2019 | Black Portraitures Conference | New York University   Where you gon go burn? is a rallying cry that almost every Virgin Islander learns perhaps even before they learn to read. These words from a popular folk song about Queen Mary and the 1878 labor revolt known as the Fireburn, harken the Afro-Caribbean tradition of queendom bestowed upon women who were fierce leaders. The refrain is a cry of defiance that forms a significant part of Virgin Islands’ collective memory and identity and has manifested in various forms that stand in sharp contrast to the Danish colonial archives. Although the Danes boast some of the most expansive archival records of the transatlantic slave trade, their removal of them in 1917 when they sold the Danish West Indies to the United States meant that the newly named US Virgin Islands would be a community that would have to form collective memory without their records. This panel presents different perspectives- on a painting, a monument, a performance and reenactments- as examples of the alternative archival systems and ways of remembering that have developed in the Virgin Islands. Unlike the colonial archives, these alternative memory systems center the agency and subjectivity of Virgin Islanders in their still ongoing quest for self-determination. In addition to the four founding members of VISCO (the Virgin Islands Studies Collective) the panel will be moderated by Dr. Cynthia Oliver, also a Virgin Islander and author of “Queen of the Virgins: Pageantry and Black Womanhood in the Caribbean”.   Hadiya Sewer , Brown University, Visiting Scholar, philosopher/Africana studies   La Vaughn Belle , Barnard College, Columbia University, Artist & Fellow at the Social Justice Institute for the Barnard Center for Research on Women   Tami Navarro , Barnard College, anthropologist   Tiphanie Yanique , Emory University, Professor, poet and novelist

Panel Discussion | October 17, 2019 | Black Portraitures Conference | New York University

Where you gon go burn? is a rallying cry that almost every Virgin Islander learns perhaps even before they learn to read. These words from a popular folk song about Queen Mary and the 1878 labor revolt known as the Fireburn, harken the Afro-Caribbean tradition of queendom bestowed upon women who were fierce leaders. The refrain is a cry of defiance that forms a significant part of Virgin Islands’ collective memory and identity and has manifested in various forms that stand in sharp contrast to the Danish colonial archives. Although the Danes boast some of the most expansive archival records of the transatlantic slave trade, their removal of them in 1917 when they sold the Danish West Indies to the United States meant that the newly named US Virgin Islands would be a community that would have to form collective memory without their records. This panel presents different perspectives- on a painting, a monument, a performance and reenactments- as examples of the alternative archival systems and ways of remembering that have developed in the Virgin Islands. Unlike the colonial archives, these alternative memory systems center the agency and subjectivity of Virgin Islanders in their still ongoing quest for self-determination. In addition to the four founding members of VISCO (the Virgin Islands Studies Collective) the panel will be moderated by Dr. Cynthia Oliver, also a Virgin Islander and author of “Queen of the Virgins: Pageantry and Black Womanhood in the Caribbean”.

Hadiya Sewer, Brown University, Visiting Scholar, philosopher/Africana studies

La Vaughn Belle, Barnard College, Columbia University, Artist & Fellow at the Social Justice Institute for the Barnard Center for Research on Women

Tami Navarro, Barnard College, anthropologist

Tiphanie Yanique, Emory University, Professor, poet and novelist

Interview | Released May 2017 | Documentary Film “We Carry It Within Us” by Helle Stenum

Belle was one of the main subjects featured in this 1hr long documentary entitled “We Carry It Within Us-fragments of a shared colonial past” directed by Helle Stenum. The documentary investigates collective memory and different perspectives on the shared colonial past between Denmark and their former colony, the US Virgin Islands. This is a 3 min clip from the film.

Panel Discussion | May 30, 2019 | Schomburg Center for Black Culture and Research

Featuring Tiphanie Yanique, Dr. Tami Navarro and La Vaughn Belle in a “talk back” session after screening of the film We Carry It Within Us by Helle Stenum at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture and Research, NY.

 

Panel Discussion | February 11, 2019 | “African Diasporic Countervisualities” | Barnard Center for Research on Women

Discussion featuring La Vaughn Belle, Dixa Ramírez, and Vanessa K. Valdés. Moderated by Tina Campt. This panel challenges the overproduction of certain images of Caribbean men, women, and children that have allowed for dominant, often nationalist, narratives from the region. Instead, each speaker reveals how the subjects of the archives from which they draw exhibit their own agency in confronting those chronicles. Speaking about the Danish West Indies / the US Virgin Islands (La Vaughn Belle), the Dominican Republic (Dixa Ramírez), and the Puerto Rican community in New York (Vanessa K. Valdés), the panel highlights inconvenient histories previously ignored, erased, silenced, ghosted.

Interview | December 2016 (published May 16, 2018) | Gekko Mediaprodukktioner

This 10 minute documentary was commissioned by the Danish Ministry of Culture to educate school children about the colonial history and relationship with the Virgin Islands by doing documentary profiles of Virgin Islanders today. La Vaughn Belle was one of the four people selected for this series.

Panel Discussion | March 5, 2019 | Black Imaginaries, Scandinavian Diasporas | Barnard Center for Research on Women

Featuring Jeannette Ehlers, Ellen Nyman, and La Vaughn Belle, Moderated by Monica L. Miller ,Jeannette Ehlers (Denmark/Trinidad), Ellen Nyman (Sweden), and La Vaughn Belle (St. Croix) discuss how their art practices across different media are designed to provoke conversation about colonial legacies and contemporary racial politics on the ground in Sweden, Denmark, and St. Croix.

Interview | May 7, 2018 | Experimental Film

Call and Response in an experimental film that uses the sound archive of an interview done by a teenage student at the St. Croix Educational Complex on May 7, 2018 for a joint project with the drama and art class. The artist later added images from her archives to to create a multilayered self portrait.

 

Artist Talk | December 8, 2017 | La Vaughn Belle and Jeannette Ehlers at Prizm Art Fair

As a part of the panel series at Prizm Art Fair 2017 LaVaughn Belle and Jeannette Ehlers present their project "I Am Queen Mary", a collaborative public art project that creates a monument in the city of Copenhagen that challenges the narratives around the Danish colonial history. In this hour long presentation they discuss the impetus behind the projects, the themes and challenges and engage with the audience in a question and answer dialogue.

Panel Discussion | February 9, 2019 | “Archiving Colonialism” | Barnard Center for Research on Women

Featuring La Vaughn Belle, Justin Leroy, and Cameron Rowland. Moderated by Saidiya Hartman. This panel discussion - "But words live in the spirit of her face and that/ sound will no longer yield to imperial erase": Archiving Colonialism - was part of the 44th annual Scholar and Feminist Conference, The Politics and Ethics of the Archive.

Artist Talk | May 11, 2017 | La Vaughn Belle at National Historic Site

In this 20 minute artist talk Belle presents the background for her painting series "Chaney: we live in the fragments" and the collaborative exhibition she produced with Gitte Westergaard on colonial era pottery in Virgin Islands at the Christiansted Fort.

Interview | March 8, 2018 | David Christian on "It's Your Perspective" talk show

In this hour long interview Belle discusses her background and studies in Cuba, projects such as "Se Permuta", "The House That Freedom Built" and "I Am Queen Mary".

Interview | 2016 | La Vaughn Belle at her studio in St. Croix

This 3 part mini-series for Danish National Television entitled “Kald Mig Brun/ Call Me Brown” explores the identities of people of color in Denmark and the legacies of colonialism. Belle makes an appearance in episode 1 at 27.49 in St. Croix in her studio with the host Anna Neye.