March 27, 2023
Annapolis, US 59 F

Banneker-Douglass Museum Reunited with Stolen Vévé

On January 25th, the vévé, or staff, of the monumental Harriet Tubman statue, Araminta with Rifle and Vévé (2017), was returned to the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Executive Director Chanel C. Johnson and Curator of Collections Schillica Howard retrieved the piece from the Annapolis Police Department station after investigation efforts led to its recovery. The statue was damaged and the vévé was stolen back in December of 2022.

Words cannot describe how relieved we are to get back this precious artwork by Dr. Joyce J. Scott. I want to thank the Annapolis Police Department, Delegate Shaneka Henson, Dr. Scott, Goya Contemporary Gallery, museum staff, and the community-at-large for working together to get the missing work back to the museum.

Chanel C. Johnson, Executive Director of Banneker-Douglass Museum and the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.

Damage to the vévé is still being assessed, and the museum staff are working with the artist, gallery, and insurance company on a path forward. It is undetermined at this time whether the vévé will be re-installed to the statue. 

The monumental statue Araminta with Rifle and Vévé (2017), which was installed in September 2022, is still on view in front of the museum along Franklin Street as a part of the exhibition The Radical Voice of Blackness Speaks of Resistance and Joy. The artist, Dr. Joyce J. Scott, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, is known as the “Queen of Beadwork” for the intricate, handcrafted beading that is featured on the statue. Araminta with Rifle and Vévé (2017) is on loan from Goya Contemporary Gallery in Baltimore.

Photos (left to right): Detail of vévé, the beaded staff that Harriet Tubman held in her left hand and full image of the monumental statue, Araminta with Rifle and Vévé (2017) courtesy of Goya Contemporary Gallery.

The Annaoplis Police have not made an arrest, nor have they offered any details on how the vévé was recovered

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