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VI Studies Collective (VISCO) Founding Statement

I recently got back from NYC and among many things had the opportunity to have a 2 day working meeting with these amazing women. It's on!!!!!

VI Studies Collective (VISCO) Founding Statement 2018
St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, the group of islands currently known as the United States Virgin Islands (formerly the Danish West Indies) are crucial spaces for thinking through questions of sovereignty, personhood, and belonging. We are a group of academics, artists, and activists who are committed to centering the Virgin Islands as a site of inquiry and theorization beyond a notion of utopia or space that is not meaningfully occupied. As founders of VI Studies, we situate this field as a multidisciplinary framework through which we—and others—are able to study and understand the Virgin Islands. Our conceptualization of the U.S. Virgin Islands allows for various connectivities with Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands. 
We are committed to centering the Virgin Islands as the int…

Writing Out Of The Margins: Selected Footnotes On Det Sorte Kapitel

In response to the film Det Sorte Kapitel (The Black Chapter) which premiered on September 29, 2018 I have many complex thoughts and feelings, but I will begin by giving some context. During the weeks leading up to the film there was a mounting sense of anxiety and confusion as I began to see the trailer and press package information emerge. I had also received communication that the premiere and panel discussion I was invited to attend as one of the key characters in the documentary would be in Danish, even with the push back of how language has functioned as a way to isolate and narrow the dialogue around colonial history. Instead of on the panel, I was placed in the audience with a translator as I watched a disjointed, pain-filled and confusing discussion about the experiences of people of color in Denmark. I sat there silent trying to understand the translator, trying to process the film I had just watched for the first time, wondering why I hadn’t seen it before and awkwardly co…

Wretched Objects of the Brute Imagination

In June I had the privilege of participating in this exhibition on St. Croix entitled "Animism and the Colonial Imagination" organized artist Janet Cook Rutnik. Here is what David Knight, Jr writes about the my work in the show: 

"Several pieces in the exhibition pose questions about the production of knowledge. La Vaughn Belle’s series of 22 V.I. animal sketches titled ‘the Most Wretched Objects of the Brute Creation’ reads like the scattered pages of an exploded travelogue or notebook of ‘discovery.’ But here we do not see the conquistador’s uncertainly drawn animals, symbols of the one divine reality, but instead something more accommo- dating to multiplicity and a kind of freedom. The ‘local’ V.I. animals, all of them imported by the island’s colonizers to serve a function, refuse to submit to a universalizing or reductive eye. The mongoose bristle with prickly resistance; the cattle turn their backs to the representer, inscrutable and opaque; the donkeys, beasts of …

Artist Talk at Prizm Art Fair: I AM QUEEN MARY with La Vaughn Belle and Jeannette Ehlers

It was exciting to participate in my first art fair in December 2017, Prizm Art Fair, a satellite fair during Miami Art Week/ Art Basel Miami. Me and my collaborator Jeannette Ehlers were honored to present an artist talk about out monumental project, I AM QUEEN MARY. During the fair we exhibited a 50 centimeter prototype of the sculpture and a series of photographs based on the merging process of our two bodies.

Here is the artist talk on youtube. 

Solo Exhibition | Peachcan Gallery | January 12-Feb 28, 2018

Peachcan Gallery January 12- February 28, 2018 Artist Talk, February 1, 2018 Possessions | La Vaughn Belle

Navigating Monarchies and Mythologies and what I'm doing in Denmark for these next 3 months

I am currently on a 3 month residency in Copenhagen. My living arrangements are provided by the Nordea Fonden and the rest is self-funded through the sale of artwork and commission projects. That's a pretty amazing statement to make as I am also here with my 3 children (ages 9, 7 and 4) and my mentally challenged older brother. There was a time in my life where this seemed impossible, so I am very grateful to be in this space realizing projects and sharing that with my family.

I am here working on several projects as the fervor of the centennial year and the anniversary of the transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark is still quite ardent. Upon leaving St. Croix I was busy finishing a new piece for an exhibition at the GL Holtegaard.  The process of how this piece materialized is quite interesting for me. The curator had requested another piece that was not available as it was recently sold to another institution and was on permanent display. The curator pushed me to think about…