On Saturday, December 17th, the Banneker-Douglass Museum suffered a theft and the defacement of the monumental statue of Harriet Tubman, Araminta with Rifle and Vévé (2017) by Dr. Joyce J. Scott.
Installed in September 2022, the monumental statue, Araminta with Rifle and Vévé sits in front of the museum on view along Franklin Street. Museum staff noticed the vévé, a beaded staff that Harriet Tubman held in her left hand, was missing.
A police report was filed immediately. Museum staff are currently working with the City of Annapolis Police Department to review video footage with hopes of recovering the piece.
“We’re saddened that this has occurred,” said Chanel Johnson, Executive Director of Banneker-Douglass Museum and Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture. “If anyone has any information connected to the theft, please let us know. We are asking for the community’s assistance in this effort. We are praying for the return of the vévé to restore the statue to its original state.”
Dr. Joyce J. Scott, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, is known as the “Queen of Beadwork” for the intricate, handcrafted beading featured in many of her pieces. Araminta with Rifle and Vévé (2017) is on loan from Goya Contemporary Gallery in Baltimore. Scott originally created the piece for a 2018 exhibition entitled Harriet Tubman and Other Truths at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J.
The museum will be closed until further notice while the investigation is underway.
If anyone has any information, please contact the museum via email at [email protected] or via phone at (410) 216-6180.