50 Queens that should be remembered
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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II – now Europe’s only reigning queen after the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II – is being celebrated with a new art installation in Copenhagen. The project, called “50 Queens,” was created in honor of Queen Margrethe’s 50th year on the throne and consists of 50 blank columns highlighting the lack of memorials depicting women throughout Denmark. According to the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces, Copenhagen has 70 sculptures honoring men, 26 celebrating animals, and only five showing women. “This year, we’re celebrating Her Majesty, the Queen of Denmark’s 50th anniversary. And we want, of course, to celebrate her, but we also want to celebrate all the other women throughout history. And some of them are well known, but some of them are not and are forgotten,” explained Svante Lindeburg, CEO of the Golden Days festival, one of the creators of the installation. “So we wanted to put focus on them by celebrating them and putting them on pedestals.” The installation features a ring of empty pedestals circling the bronze statue of King Christian V at the center of King’s Square. Each column honors a different woman from Danish history. Visitors can scan QR codes on the pedestals to find out more information about the honorees. Forty-nine of the pedestals are white; but the 50th and tallest of the columns has a mirrored surface. “The mirrored pedestal is unnamed. There’s no woman represented on the pedestal. And instead it has a question: Who have we missed? And we encourage the public to scan the QR code and nominate a woman that they think should be represented in a statue around Copenhagen or the world,” said Louise Mould, one of the architects behind the installation. “The mirrored material also allows people to see themselves, which I think is inspirational, to see that you or the people that surround you can also have an impact on the world and create, you know, interesting and amazing things that contribute to society.” A plinth honoring “Out of Africa” author Karen Blixen will be transported to the country house where Blixen lived most of her life, and a pedestal for zoologist Marie Hammer will be transported to the University of Copenhagen’s Botanical Garden. A column for Danish painter and transgender pioneer Lili Elbe will go to the grounds of the Sophienholm art museum. The installation is on display for two weeks and, over the second week, some of the columns will be moved to other locations in the world.