“The Queens” Sculpture.
For the last year I have been sculpting a maquette in clay. It’s about a powerful story that has inspired and enthralled me.
The story is about the “The Queens of Fireburn”, and how the strength, prowess and determination of a small group of women changed history.
I see it as story of true freedom, and the Queens as pioneers on the path to equality. It was an event that must have required great courage and selflessness. These women stood up together in the face of an oppressive authority to demand basic human rights and the freedoms that emancipation did not deliver.
It is a story that took place right in the town that has captured my heart, Freedom City, the City of Frederiksted.
The history and lore have told about three queens: Mary, Matilda, and Agnes. In recent years, through documents discovered in Copenhagen, a fourth “queen” has been revealed. Her name was Susanna Abramson, or “Bottom Belly”. She was older than the others and kept a book of records. It is my understanding that she stood behind the three younger queens and provided valuable information and strong support to the grass roots revolution that took place.
My research to date has uncovered artist’s sketches, however there seems to be no photographic records of any one of the queens. As an artist, I want to recreate their portraits by studying each one’s character. I would locally hire four carefully selected models with whom to work during the sculpting process.
I have researched the clothing worn during the time-period, and want to portray the style in an historic manner, yet also allow it to be a loose, flowing part of the composition. Their three dresses will all be blowing together, connected in form; the three torches come together, standing tall. Agnes and Matilda will be lighting their torches from Mary’s. The sculpted flames coming off Mary’s torch can have intentional fissures so, at night, an LED light feature could illuminate brightly from inside the casting, creating a beautiful radiating effect. The height of the sculpture would be about ten feet to the top of the flames. When placed on a two or three foot pedestal the flames would rise to about thirteen feet.
The maquette presented in this video is a loose working model to represent the composition of the intended sculpture. The details remain loose and the maquette will go through further changes. The actual sculpture will have a higher level of detail than the maquette and the portraits will be created as I sculpt with the chosen models.
I would also be able to hire a couple of local assistants to help with this process and would like to include several area high schools and University of the Virgin Islands during both the sculpting and assembly processes.
It is my intent to create an icon for our islands and to share the true spirit of the “Queens” with everyone.
This project would give the Virgin Islands and the city of Frederiksted, a long lasting gift that would share a valuable story of great courage and freedom for generations to come.